WNMP Is On The Air In Marlinton!
Marlinton, WV – Yes Marlinton, you can finally listen to Allegheny Mountain Radio without having to sit in your car to hear it. It’s long been a complaint by many residents of the Pocahontas County town that they couldn’t pick up the local community radio station inside their homes and businesses due to interference with the AM signal. With WNMP 88.5FM now on the air, that problem has finally been solved. AMR Chief Engineer Chuck Niday says it’s been a long time coming.
“Back when the FCC opened the filing window for non-commercial FM stations, we put in an application for the Hillsboro station WVMR-FM, because we knew we wanted that; it’d been promised since like when WVMR went on the air, but due to FCC monkeying around with the rules and stuff, it was delayed for like 15 years,” he says. “2007 rolled around, we had to reapply, also had interest in a station in Pendleton County, so we put in an application for that. And then somebody said Oh what the heck, let’s throw one in for Marlinton too and see what happens, and doggone if we didn’t get it.”
Things didn’t work out for the Pendleton County transmitter, and that application expired. He says there were a few obstacles to overcome with the Marlinton transmitter, such as competing applications for the same frequencies.
“There was negotiations that had to be done because our application conflicted with one’s from Virginia Tech Foundation and West Virginia Public Radio,” he says, “cause we were all diving for the same frequencies. So the consultants got their heads together and figured out they could move from one frequency to the next, and workedit out so that everybody could do what they needed to do without interfering with each other and it worked out just fine.”
Unlike Hillsboro, he says there was no grant money for the Marlinton transmitter.
“When we got the actual construction permit we decided well we didn’t get any grant funding for it, so we’ll just have to make this a “junk box” station,” he says. “Which actually made things easier on me because I didn’t have to write a bunch of bid specs and things like that; we could just go out and buy what we wanted. There’s a lot of used equipment; we’re using a used transmitter up there imported from New Jersey. There’s a few new items in there, there’s some used stuff from WVMR. All in all, it came together fairly well.”
AMR did receive some financial help from the County Commission, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and donations from local citizens through fundraisers. WMNP is currently operating at only 50 watts, a fraction of the full 1000 watts allowed under the FCC license.
“That’s correct,” says Niday, “still got to wire up the AC service to the transmitter to get it cranked up to its full licensed power. We’re just running at 50 watts right now, but it’s doing really well, it’s surprisingly well; doing much better than I ever expected it too. Once we get it up to its full power, I’m kind of afraid of what might happen.”
Niday says he’s glad this is the last transmitter he has to get the air. But he’s not done working on them by a long shot. In fact, he says next spring, he’ll start doing some upgrading to the Durbin translator to not only make it easier to work on, but to improve its reliability during power outages.