A win-win situation for WNCW FM

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 05:37 AM

A radio translator site in Charlotte, broadcasting WNCW National Public Radio and owned by the Isothermal Community College Board of Trustees, will soon be up for sale.

WNCW transmits its main signal from Clingman’s Peak at Mount Mitchell, and the station currently has translators in Charlotte, Greenville and Boone. The translators play the main signal over another frequency in each specific area. The station rebroadcasts on a separate transmitter in Wilkesboro under the call letters WSIF, said Mike Gavin, Isothermal’s director of marketing and community relations.

The station own two translators in the Charlotte area and has a permit to build a third.

Recently, station officials learned that Donald Curtis of Eastern Airwaves, LLC, would like to buy one of the existing Charlotte translator sites, basically a broadcast frequency on the airwaves regulated and licensed by the FCC. He submitted a bid $125,000 for the translator.

Isothermal trustees voted Tuesday to begin an upset bid process, which requires that the bid be advertised and gives others an opportunity to make a higher bid within a certain timeframe. If no other bids are made, the initial bid would be accepted.

The money generated from the sale would be used to move the Charlotte translator service to a new location, which could happen with no interruption in broadcast to that market. In addition, the new translator service would be located in an area of Charlotte that would enhance the station’s coverage, Gavin said.

Funds could also be used to complete repairs and renovations on the main transmitter antenna on Clingman’s Peak.

“We are not taking a step backwards,” Stephen Matheny, vice president of administrative services.

“We have two in Charlotte and we don’t need both,” Matheny said. “I’d rather have the $125,000 than have both translators.”

Trustee Chivous Bradley said the authorization of the upset bid process, “is a win-win situation” for all.

Vice Chair of the Trustees, John Condrey, said WNCW does an extremely good job working between its technical staff and the administrative staff. “This would be an enhancement of the coverage area ... It’s very relevant that we pay attention to these things.”