NOME, AK (November 14, 2011) – New power-saving technology being used by radio station KICY already is showing significant financial benefits and providing an even better signal than station operators expected.
The Arctic Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of KICY, was able to obtain the equipment through an “experimental license” granted by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), says general manager Dennis Weidler.
According to the FCC, the experimental license rules allow scientific research and technical development in parts of the radio frequency spectrum.
“Simply stated, the circuitry turns down the AM carrier in times of silence,” Weidler says. There were concerns about diminished audio quality in the station’s fringe coverage area, but it appears those fears were unfounded.
“On the first day of testing, a listener from Anchorage, nearly 550 miles to the southeast of Nome, called and commented on the excellent signal strength and audio quality,” Weidler says. “There have been subsequent listener calls and positive comments from as far away as Bristol Bay.”
The new circuitry was switched on beginning September 22. It already has produced a savings of nearly $1,500.
“This represents a huge savings for us as energy costs continue to escalate in Northwest Alaska,” Weidler says. With base costs, fuel adjustment costs, and peak demand charges, KICY was currently paying more than 35 cents per kilowatt hour here in Nome. “When operating a 50,000-watt AM station 24 hours a day, those costs were becoming staggering.”
The Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska operates the station. It also has the only international license ever granted by the FCC, which enables the station to broadcast in Russia.