The Allen County Public Library is about a third of the way to achieving its funding goal for a new, low-power community radio station.
The Federal Communications Commission granted the library a construction permit in October for a 100-watt radio antenna and transmitter, said Erik Mollberg, assistant manager at Access Fort Wayne, a department within the Allen County Public Library.
Mollberg gave the Allen County Board of Commissioners an update on the project Friday.
"This is Allen County’s first community radio station," he told the commissioners. "This is a noncommercial FM radio station."
While the transmitter and antenna will be at IPFW, the production department will be at the library downtown, he said.
So far, the library has raised about $7,000 of its $25,000 goal, which will pay for equipment and setup. The project has had some cash donations but has seen more in-kind donations, such as an audio sound board.
A fundraiser for the project is planned for May 9, and Mollberg said the station’s organizers and supporters plan to be at the library’s Rock the Plaza on May 30.
The station’s frequency will be 95.7 and its call letters are WELT, which Mollberg said stands for We Encourage Local Talent. The 100-watt antenna means the signal will cover an average 5-mile radius from IPFW.
"Our mission is to challenge the cultural and intellectual assumptions of our listeners through unique and diverse programming," he said.
WELT-FM is expected to begin broadcasting in December. In the meantime, Mollberg said, there will be help available for people creating radio programs for the station.
"I want to make sure that when we do go online, everybody is well-trained, they’ve been practicing and honing their craft so we can bring the best quality local radio programming to the community," he said. "We’re not going to go haphazard about this."
There’s a wide range of programming that could be put on at the new station, Mollberg said. The content just has to stay within the confines of FCC regulations. So far, the station plans to feature talk and music programming, as well as library programs and governmental meetings.
Anyone interested in creating a radio program may call Mollberg at 421-1248 or email him at email@example.com. There will also be a meeting at 7 p.m. May 13 at Access Fort Wayne on the first floor of the downtown library.