Local radio station would serve Two Harbors areaWould you tune in to KTWO—a local radio station for the Two Harbors area?
By: Sonja Peterson, Lake County News Chronicle
Would you tune in to KTWO—a local radio station for the Two Harbors area?
Last Monday about a dozen people gathered at the Two Harbors library to discuss starting a low-power FM radio station in Two Harbors.
Fran Kaliher, who along with Leo Babeu has been spearheading the effort so far, said that there isn’t anything like it in Northern Minnesota. Carleton College in Northfield is one of the few places with a similar station, but it’s in Southern Minnesota.
The opportunity to start a station in Two Harbors has arisen thanks to the Local Communities Radio Act, passed by Congress in 2010. The act opens up new space on the airwaves for low-power stations. The next opportunity to apply for a station through the act will be in early 2013.
The meeting attracted some community members with past radio experience and others who were simply interested in the project. The group is still in the early planning stages, working to generate interest and awareness in the community and to recruit more volunteers.
Though there’s no cost to apply for a station through the FCC, Kaliher estimated that start-up costs would be around $10,000 for equipment and a transmitter.
Kaliher noted that the new fiber optic service could prove useful if they want to have a transmitter separate from their broadcasts studio location.
Bruce Ecklund, who has been working with radio on and off for decades, suggested it might be easier to keep the equipment all in one place. That way, during emergencies they could all be powered by one back-up generator.
In addition to broadcasting announcements, governmental and community meetings, musical programs, and natural history, meeting attendees suggested that the radio could be a useful resource for tourists traveling through the area. They also discussed involving high school students in the project.
The radio group would probably start by partnering with an existing non-profit, before going through the lengthy process to become its own registered non-profit organization. “Eventually, we’d want to go the whole way,” Kaliher said, “but we can start out using a non-profit as a fiscal agent.”
At the meeting, they discussed making presentations to community groups and the Two Harbors city council, and decided to continue meeting at least once a month. They also began forming committees to tackle fundraising, application writing, and technical concerns.
For more information about the radio station, contact Fran Kaliher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-0489.