KPCW will celebrate frequency shift with community party
May 31, 2016
In 1980 the local Park City-based radio station KPCW started broadcasting from 91.9 FM.
The nonprofit radio station will change that on Wednesday, June 1, according to Larry Warren, general manager and president.
"At 9:17 a.m., we will flip the switch and leave our legacy signal at 91.9 (FM) and move to 91.7 (FM)," Warren told The Park Record. "To celebrate and thank the community for 35 years of support, we will host a free lunch at noon on Bob Wells Plaza next to the station (at 460 Swede Alley)."
KPCW staff will provide a barbecue for the town until 2 p.m.
"We’ll flip burgers to signify the signal flip," said Warren, who is also the host of the station’s Mountain Money program. "All are welcome and we hope to see a big crowd."
In addition, staff, volunteers, board members and contributors will do honk-and-waves during Wednesday’s morning and evening drive times on S.R. 224 and S.R. 248 to remind people about the signal switch.
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The frequency switch isn’t just moving down the dial, Warren said.
"We’re increasing the power and adding stereo," he said. "It’s a better signal on a new frequency."
The switch doesn’t include the broadcasts heard in rural eastern Summit County or in the Heber Valley, Warren explained.
"We have a translator in the Heber Valley that will stay at 91.9, and we’ll remain at 881, pretty much where you can’t get the other two, which includes eastern Summit County," he said.
While the original signal on 91.9 was 250 watts. the new signal at 91.7 is 1,800 watts.
"That doesn’t mean we go six times further," Warren said. "It means it’s a strong enough signal to penetrate buildings better."
The signal also allows KPCW to split the channels and run stereo and push the coverage out a bit further, Warren said
"We’ve been thinking about this for a long time," he said. "We have held a construction permit from the FCC for the past six years."
For obvious reasons, KPCW didn’t act on it during the recession.
"We didn’t think the chances of a capital campaign would be successful then," Warren said. "We were just concentrating on staying on the air."
The station put off the upgrades until this year.
"We replaced all the broadcast equipment on Quarry Mountain," Warren said. "We lifted off our old antenna, stripped the mast and put new antenna up a couple of weeks ago."
The station also received a brand new transmitter and new electronics that are required to run a new station.
"I haven’t totaled it all up, but this was certainly a six-figure investment," Warren said.
KPCW was able to finance the entire project without asking Summit County residents for contributions through a partnership with Broadway Media.
The company owns the Salt Lake City FM stations X-96 (KXRK), Mix 105.1 (KUDD), 101.5 The Eagle (KEGA), Rewind 100.7 (KYMV) and U92 (KUUU), as well as the AM station ESPN 700 and ESPN 960 (KALL).
"We agreed to move down the dial so that a second adjacent signal on the commercial band at 92.3 could increase their power," Warren said. "In exchange for us moving, they, Broadway Media, donated all the costs of the new station, plus, as a good-will gesture, donated an extra frequency and license they had for 107.9 in Salt Lake City.
"This is a huge step forward for KPCW in terms of signal reach and in terms of sustainability going forward," Warren said.
KPCW will change its signal from 91.9 FM to 91.7 FM on Wednesday, June 1. To celebrate, the public is invited to a party at the KPCW deck, 460 Swede Alley, from noon until 2 p.m. The staff will host a free barbecue. For more information, visit KPCW.org.