For the last few weeks my home community radio station, WEFT, has been hobbling along at reduced power, due to severe weather which fried our 20 year-old, 10,000-watt transmitter. Over the course of this time, the station’s rented a 1,000-watt transmitter, bringing our effective radiated power up to about 1/5th of its licensed capacity.
Buying, shipping, and installing a 10,000-watt transmitter is not cheap (think approximately $60,000). Fortunately, because our old transmitter was insured and verifiably destroyed by an “act of God” (lightning/water damage), we should be receiving something around $27,000 in compensation. In conjunction with that, WEFT had a “rainy-day fund” set up shortly after we paid off the mortgage for our studio building more than 10 years ago. We paid off the mortgage early and saved the remainder. That fund has about $25,000 in it.
In a nutshell, it looks like WEFT will be back up to full-strength by July 4, sounding bigger and better than ever, without taking a huge fiscal hit in the process. However, this incident has been a wake-up call to the station to review and inspect the rest of its transmission airchain. This will be a multi-year project, and not without its own costs, but I hope we get cracking.