WEQY getting closer to airtime

An open house preview of the new WEQY radio station will take place on Saturday, May 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the East Side Enterprise Center, 804 Margaret St. There, East Siders can learn more about how to be involved in the community radio station, and check out some of the equipment that will be used. (Patrick Larkin/Review)
An open house preview of the new WEQY radio station will take place on Saturday, May 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the East Side Enterprise Center, 804 Margaret St. There, East Siders can learn more about how to be involved in the community radio station, and check out some of the equipment that will be used. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Open house scheduled for May 30

With a studio location in place, equipment purchased, and some programming beginning to form, the East Side’s own community radio station, 104.7 WEQY, is on its way to being ready for broadcasting.

“We have all the equipment; we have the antenna,” reports Brenda Reid, project manager for the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council.

The radio station will be designed to serve East Siders, providing local radio content to the majority of the East Side. The station comes out of a 2013 effort by the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council to secure a signal from the FCC during a brief application window. The community council has since secured funding through St. Paul STAR funds to help offset the station’s startup costs.

Reid says technicians from Prometheus, a national nonprofit organization that helps small-time radio stations, will come out in July and set up the station’s broadcast equipment at a storefront location in the Rogers Printing building at 790 E. Seventh St.

The radius will be at least 3.5 miles in every direction from the antenna that will be mounted at 180 Degrees’ location at East Seventh Street and Johnson Parkway, but it could reach as far as 10 miles.

That’s in addition to the partner stations that will be broadcasting WEQY’s content from towers in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood and Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhoods, where two other community radio stations will eventually go on the air.

With a timeline shaping up, the Dayton’s Bluff District Council opted to hold an open house to showcase the future radio station, and to get more East Siders involved.

The open house takes place Saturday, May 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the East Side Enterprise Center, 804 Margaret St.

The event will showcase the station’s equipment, and will also be an opportunity for East Siders to learn how to get involved, and possibly start a radio show of their own. The event also features an “East Side Minute” where residents can record “spots” that could get played on air.

In terms of programming, the station still has a little ways to go, although a large group of community members have come forward expressing interest in creating radio programs.

Examples of proposed radio shows include:

• a program highlighting upcoming activities at St. Paul Parks and Recreation

• a show put on by kids at the Arlington Hills Community Center

• a program about African American youths, touching on topics including politics, sports, and music

• a local hip hop program

• St. Paul Public Works public service announcements.

There’s a list of about 60 individuals or organizations expressing interest in doing programming. In addition, WEQY will team up with other local community radio stations and share programming.

The station has already begun training volunteer radio hosts, and has recorded some content for broadcast.

Aside from the programming, the station will need some more underwriting, or in layman’s terms, funding, which could come from local businesses and other organizations.

Though there’s a lot to be figured out, Reid says momentum is building.

“There’s so much interest [in the station] right now,” she says.

— Patrick Larkin

 

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