Commentary
11:53 am
Tue May 11, 2010

Station Manager Kate Lochte on WKMS at 40

Murray, KY – When WKMS began in 1970, Murray State University envisioned that it would spread the word about higher education in the region to a much wider audience, and WKMS continues to serve as the University's beacon for lifelong learning, with your steadfast support. Thank you.

Programs like Talk of the Nation Science Friday, Speaking of Faith, Earth and Sky, and Pulse of the Planet are specifically educational in nature, but the rest of our schedule is educational in mission. Keeping you informed, inspired and surprised with music and news is what we're about.

We offer you a comprehensive history of the station at our website, here. You can browse it to learn how 913 has grown with your community these four decades. Although growing up is never done, you know turning 40 is one of those big milestones. Sometimes it involves a mid-life crisis, but we'd like to think of what WKMS is going through right now as a growth spurt, actually. And here's why.

The HD2 Classical Music Channel is providing you another 24 hour radio station - on the air for those who are using HD receivers, online at wkms.org, and on the air for FM listening at 92.5 Paducah and 105.1 Madisonville. The new 90.9 WKMD, Madisonville is broadcasting a stronger signal to the northeast, and WKMT, Fulton, is about to come on the air booming a stronger signal at 89.5 to the southwest. So we're different than we were a year ago, much less 40 years ago when WKMS started as a 13,000 watt broadcast service on a KET tower in Farmington.

And it's great that we share this 40th Anniversary with NPR. Murray State became a member station at NPR's very beginning. WKMS is going to spread its 40th anniversary celebration over the coming year, starting with this special edition of Front Page and concluding on May 11, 2011.

During this time we will also be involved in a national project called Leadership for Philanthropy, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Murray State University and in part, your contributions. This will involve mentors working with us to assess the station's essential role in our region. We will seek out your thinking about some "big ideas" that will guide us into the future, including a process of winnowing down the principal issues affecting our region and how we may be of service in addressing these.

We will also be involved in emerging planning with National Public Radio and stations across the Commonwealth about how public radio stations in Kentucky serve in times of public emergency. News Director Chad Lampe and I will discuss our station's ice storm experience during a national meeting of Public Radio News Directors in Louisville next month.

WKMS and other public entities across the state applied for FEMA grant assistance following the ice storm. We sought support to purchase a generator to provide backup power for the main transmitter site in LBL. These grants have not yet been determined.

We may need to seek funding in the next grant round of the Public Telecommunication Facilities program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This program, called PTFP, has helped WKMS to put four transmission systems on the air in the last 20 years, as well as supporting the replacement of the guy wires supporting our LBL Tower. If you have occasion to speak with members of our U.S. Congressional Delegation, I hope you'll thank them for supporting funding for PTFP because it has provided the impetus for WKMS expansion and endurance.

Thanks again for all you do for WKMS. We hope this 40th anniversary year serves as a stepping stone to a substantial second 40 years of public radio for new generations of listeners.

 

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