WFIU is joining a growing list of NPR stations who are turning a liability (their HD2 channel) into an INSTANT FM STATION that will provide significant new public service. Like many stations in college markets, WFIU currently has a dual format: NPR News and Classical. With the new FM signal, WFIU will have the option of two 24/7 stations with distinct programming.
WFIU recently purchased FM translator W270BH – 101.9 FM for $45,000. WFIU is upgrading 101.9 to 250 watts at 212 meters. The translator will repeat WFIU’s HD2 channel.
Here is the projected coverage area for the new 101.9:
WFIU Program Director John Bailey said about the plan:
We are indeed taking our HD2 to analog, probably around the first of the year, via a newly acquired translator that will cover much of our primary county. We have not, though, determined what programming shifts might attend the change. That decision will be finalized in the months to come.
Looking at the Bloomington, Indiana radio dial, WFIU has several good options. The only other local public radio voice is WFHB, a very well run community station that plays a tasty mix of Triple A music.
CASE STUDY: ORLANDO SHOWS WHAT IS POSSIBLE
WPOZ-FM is one of the top Christian Contemporary Music (“CCM”) stations in the nation. By putting their three HD channels on FM translators, they have created three INSTANT FM STATIONS. One of them is 106.3 FM – repeating WPOZ-HD3. It airs Gospel music 24/7 using the brand name G-106.3. Here is the FM coverage area:
In the May 2015 Nielsen Audio PPM report for Orlando, G-106.3 had more weekly cumulative listeners than either NPR News WMFE or Jazz WUCF. (G-106.3 had 91,700 weekly listeners; WMFE had 87,600 and WUCF had 71,200. Source: Nielsen Audio & Radio Research Consortium.)
OTHER CPB FUNDED STATIONS WITH HD-TO-FM INSTANT FM OUTLETS
WHQR, WILMINGTON, NC
HQR Classical is now on-the-air at 96.7 and both classical and NPR News listeners are happy to have 24/7 service. We reported on WHQR on June 17th [link].
WUFT, Gainesville, FL
WUFT will debut a new live classical music service on 92.1 FM this fall. This will allow 24/7 NPR News on 89.1 FM and 24/7 classical on 92.1. We reported on WUFT on June 15th [link].
MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MA
WMVY FM 88.7 FM is now on-the-air with Triple A music 24/7 via Rhode Island Public Radio’s HD2 channel. We reported on this INSTANT FM STATION on April 3, 2015. [link].
WAMU’s HD2 Bluegrass & Country has over 30,000 weekly cumulative listeners via FM 105.5. We reported on FM 105.5 on January 14, 2015 [link].
ATTENTION CPB: LEAD THE DEVELOPMENT OF INSTANT FM STATIONS NOW
Many stations started HD Radio channels because of grants from CPB. These stations are tied to long-term HD broadcasting as part of the deal. CPB and the stations made these moves for all the right reasons. But HD Radio wasn’t and isn’t being accepted by consumers.
Most of the HD channels made possible by CPB funding are costly LEMONS. CPB’s leadership is needed now to turn these LEMONS into FM LEMONDADE.
DON’T WAIT BECAUSE FM SPECTRUM IS LIMITED AND THE GOD SQUAD IS ON THE MARCH.