It was one year ago tomorrow when sections of Central and Western Massachusetts were displaced by a major ice storm. As soon as the staff at then WEIM Radio (now WPKZ) in Fitchburg realized that this was going to be not-your-average-storm, they did what local radio is supposed to do. (Read my post from last year here and the follow up tribute from Fitchburg’s mayor here) Even with the format and call letter change, WPZK’s commitment to local radio and issues hasn’t. A full slate of high school sports, a live and local morning show with a busy news department, and a sales department that is hitting the streets and making a difference shows that local radio is alive and well.
But I bring up WPKZ and it’s owner William Macek for another reason – to support the use of FM translators for AM radio stations. See, Macek purchased a translator license that was based on the North Shore of Massachusetts, about 100 miles from his station in Fitchburg. The process started sometime in the summer of 2009. The Federal Communications Commission doesn’t mind the act of moving the translator, but you have to do it in steps. For Macek, it was at least six steps to get it from the North Shore to his proposed tower site in Fitchburg. Unnecessary steps for the final outcome, but hey, what else can we expect from the FCC? Exactly.
So now, Macek sits and waits for final approval from the FCC in order to officially start announcing W288CE – 105.3 as serving Greater Fitchburg. Could be a month, could be longer depending on the FCC’s final word, and of course, Mother Nature. To me – this is a perfect example of how to use a translator for the betterment of radio and the communities they serve, rather than using them as repeaters for some far off station that doesn’t have one shred of presence within the community they supposedly serve.