By Tara Alvey
HYRUM — Getting good radio reception can sometimes be hard in Cache Valley. But on Thursday night, the Hyrum City Council took the first steps in providing a solution to that problem.
Friend Weller, who has been in the radio business for more than 30 years, proposed to the council that they approve and support his idea for a low-powered radio station in Hyrum. The station Weller wants approval for would reach not just Hyrum, but most of the south end of Cache Valley.
“I’ve already been hobby-broadcasting from the studio in my backyard for about three years now, however my channel doesn’t get very far. On a good day you can maybe hear me down at the high school, but that’s on a good day,” said Weller.
“I’ve been up to look at Friend’s studio and it’s a nice set-up. I think that this would be a great service to provide to the people of Hyrum,” said Councilman Paul James.
According to Weller, there is one frequency remaining in Cache Valley, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will make available very shortly. The radio frequency is 92.3 and in order for Hyrum city to take advantage of the opening, they must begin acting now.
“I really have no doubt that the FCC will approve our request for the frequency if we are already moving on the project,” said Weller. “That’s why I’m bringing this idea before you now, so we can get started.
Mayor Dean Howard asked, “What sort of things could we broadcast on the station?”
“We could broadcast events that happen in the square, talk about city council meetings, and we could provide emergency broadcasting in case of a crisis in Cache Valley,” said Weller.
“Could we also use the station to broadcast during the parade, town patriotic programs, and maybe even the fireworks?” asked Councilwoman Stephanie Miller.
“That would certainly be possible,” replied Weller. “That’s something I’d enjoy doing very much.
Councilman Martin Felix inquired about the cost that would be associated with the radio station.
“There is no licensing fee required,” Weller told the council. “Approval of this radio station would require an initial investment of about $12,000 in order to buy the necessary equipment and such. However, $12,000 is the worst-case scenario. I believe we could buy a lot of the equipment used, and probably keep the price around $2,000 or $3,000. After the initial startup it would only cost $230 a month to run and maintain.
Felix made a motion to approve Weller’s request, pending the approval of a final budget plan. Councilman Aaron Woolstenhulme seconded the motion, and the council approved it.