K-FAT, Green in the Desert
Chris Rolando, president and chief executive officer of Murphy Broadcasting, says KFTT(FM) in Bagdad, Ariz. — “K-FAT” — is about the “greenest” radio station there is.
The 900 watt Class C3 facility runs 100 percent solar at its transmitter site in Bagdad and uses solar power for its STL. Soon, the company will add about 180 solar panels to feed power to the Bagdad studio and then onto the roof of the adjoining, co-owned bar and grill.
In addition, the company also plans to install solar panels to its 5,000-square-foot media center in Lake Havasu City, where studios and offices for five stations are located. The roof solar installation is slated for completion by year-end.
The estimated cost of its entire solar effort is $290,000, according to Rolando, but the company will regain about 30 percent back through tax breaks and rebates.
The station has been on the air for 11 months and sits among rough terrain amid mountains.
“It’s hard to truck in diesel here, and the roads are steep,” Rolando said. The station has a generator fueled by propane as a back-up to the solar powered system, “in case the sun goes out in Arizona,” he quipped.
Murphy Chief Engineer Faron Eckelbarger said, “Although we routinely test the generator, we have never had to switch it on.”
KFTT uses an Armstrong transmitter and STL. Asked how going solar changes what needs to be done operationally, Eckelbarger said, “Monitoring the voltage of the battery bank and logging the different parameters measured by the charge controllers is important.”
The goal of going to solar power is to reduce the station’s consumption “on the grid.” Rolando said electricity costs 11 cents per kilowatt in that area. The temperature was 115 degrees when he spoke with Radio World in July.
KFTT is one of five stations licensed by Murphy Broadcasting, which is privately owned. KFTT’s programming is of “no defined format,” according to the company Web site, though it also states the station airs top 40 hits from the ‘80s to today.
Murphy’s headquarters are in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Its stations serve portions of three states along the Colorado River: Nevada, Arizona and California. Other Murphy stations are licensed to Lake Havasu City: KVAL(FM), KRRK(FM), KRCY(FM) and KZUL(FM). KFTT itself has translators in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City, Ariz., and in Laughlin, Nev.
Rick Murphy is owner and chief executive officer of Murphy Broadcasting, which claims to be one of the largest small-market broadcast companies in the United States.
Muprhy Broadcasting provides funding for its other businesses, the Tri-State News Network and e-Press, a free, local news publication e-mailed daily to thousands of readers, provided by www.justsaynews.com.