of stations on the FM band is about to see historic expansion thanks to the
low-power FM window. Here, Radio World starts a series of posts by and about
the entities that hold LPFM construction permits, discussing their hopes and
plans. Do you plan an LPFM station? Tell us. Write to Brett Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s our story …
Tim Ericksen, Host of “True Blues”
A friend of mine had been down to The Villages, a retirement
community near Orlando, Fla., and learned about the Low-Power FM radio legislation.
He came back to Illinois and cornered me. He thought that with my experience in
the media business I might like to work with him establishing a station for our
retirement community, Sun City Huntley, in Huntley, Ill.
I had worked for years in the early days of television, film
and advertising. Like him I’m retired. A few of us presented the
idea to our retirement community but they weren’t interested in
developing a station.
So we switched to Plan B and incorporated as a nonprofit in
Illinois and got a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS. We formed a board and
decided to start as an Internet station.
Lucky for us Jim Carollo had just retired from WGN(AM/FM)
and he joined our board. He told us how much money we needed to equip a station.
A local citizen donated what was needed to purchase and install the equipment
and our local park district provided us with a wonderful space for our
studios and offices at a very low rent. Huntley Community Radio was on the
air, sort of!
I became director of programming and development. Jim
was director of engineering. We’ve been streaming for 18 months now. Our website
is www.huntleyradio.org where you can get more info, donate or see our
“Foodies” Nancy and Jim Eggers, Hosts of “Dining Duo”
We program over 35 locally-produced shows. This is in
addition to a wide variety of music programs. Our major hospital chain has a
regular medical lecture series that we record and then play back. At present we
prerecord all our shows but are about to start a regular, live, morning show
with news, weather and local announcements.
One of our missions is to provide educational opportunities
for all. Our local high school has developed a Radio Broadcasting Club
with about 35 members. They have recently begun recording their own show. These
students are excited about learning the radio business and producing their own
Start ’em young — Ben, Andrew, Cory and Nick, hosts of
“CK Sports Talk”
We also have a strong affiliation with a local community
college, McHenry Community College, and we have three interns, who, for credit,
have learned how to operate our recording and editing equipment and have developed
their own shows. They will be mentoring the high school students. This
educational component has brought additional excitement to our station.
We also have a terrific show featuring four boys, all age
14, who have their own show weekly in which they discuss local regional
and national sports. People are learning that these “kids” have very
interesting and sometimes sophisticated views. We also feature a weekly
talk/interview show hosted by an 88-year-old and everyone thinks it’s
great. So we run the age gamut from 14–88.
About 10 shows have been developed and are produced by
seniors from the nearby Sun City facility. Most of these people knew
nothing about radio but they learned on the job and talk about their hobbies,
interests or their professions. Subjects range from law, gourmet food,
real estate, comedy, yoga and even the Constitution.
Interns Curtis Koch (L) and Greg Hill, from McHenry
Community College, provide instruction and host some shows.
As for getting on the air, we, like so many LPFM applicants,
we have just received our construction permit.
Jim, who has over 40+ years of radio engineering experience
with WGN radio in Chicago, has supervised all of our purchases and installation
of our technical equipment and continues to do so.
We have an advisory board, which includes the village manager,
executive director of the Park District, a local major bank manager, a noted
radio personality, superintendent of the school district and others.
Our biggest challenge right now is fundraising and, of
course, marketing and letting everyone know we’re here.
So we are kicking off a fundraising drive. We need to
raise $40,000 for the purchase and installation of the antenna and
transmitter. Our local village government has offered space on one of
their towers for the antenna, but we have to complete some engineering studies
for them. Jim is really handy for that. The Chamber of Commerce has helped in
It’s been a lot of hard work but we love it! It’s great to
see what we’ve accomplished and look forward to the future. We’d be
interested in hearing from others who have their CPs and how they are going to
operate and raise the needed money. Let’s keep talking.
Litwin is the director of programming and development for Huntley Community
To submit a post about your LPFM station’s plans, write to email@example.com.