Since the start of 2018, Radio Alchemy has been hard at work updating its online streaming server (aka shoutcaster). We are now back streaming 24/7 on this website and have found it to be very reliable. After several trials, we were able to get it working once again on our website.
At the same time KONA has upgraded to programmable Radio DJ software that will allow for content to be scheduled at specific times along with playlists and other useful tools to help promote community events such as the Women’s March which we broadcast from live on January 21st. These recordings were then edited and played back on air at different times throughout the past month.
The civil defense ‘drill/not-a-drill” became a front and center controversey as we received a notice on our EAS (Emergency Alert System) that authorities have issued a “Civil Defense Warning” for all of Hawaii beginning at 8:07 am on the morning of January 13, 2018. It had gone out to the public that a “Ballistic Missile Threat” was “Inbound to Hawaii”. “Seek Immediate Shelter” “This is Not a Drill”
What better time to break out an Exclamation Point! After all the frenzy subsided and the story of a wrong button being pushed, it was a reminder that our EAS unit accounting for more than 1/3 of the cost of the LPFM project was still unpaid on a credit card. This unit is required by the Federal Communications Commission as part of the LPFM licensing process.
The real news in this case however is that this public system is designed for use by the federal government. It is not being financed 1 penny by those who print our dollars. Wouldn’t it only be fair that a matching grant be provided which would allow us to divert some of this cost towards a repeater that would improve our coverage area (even for this potential emergency purpose)?
Last week, a letter was written to our Congress Woman Tulsi Gabbard expressing this concern to bring it to her attention.
Now while I recognize there is a practical use for this program to be in place, I see it very much a part of the Federal system that takes control of the airwaves thru the equipment that they require. LPFM’s have difficulty generating revenue. Especially where we are also not allowed to advertise. We can use “underwriting” as a surrogate method to acknowledge contributions from local businesses. But this runs counter to what most owners typically think of when they are seeking conventional advertisements on the radio.
It really drives home the point that whereas we are a community radio station with a lot of flexibility for broadcasting from nearly anywhere, there just are not a lot of options in terms of expansion unless we receive listener sponsorships or underwriting from participating businesses.
Some have asked why it is that a clear signal cannot be reached within ‘the dish’ where Kailua-Kona sinks down inward towards the ocean on Alii Drive. The two variables are 1) strength of signal (we’re limited to 100 watts) and 2) line-of-sight FM signal which is obstructed due to the rapid decline of our terrain to sea level plus the buildings and power lines which also create interference.
We feel that with a repeater placed strategically in Holualoa… a stronger, more direct signal can be reproduced (or replicated) and we would cover what is a partial dead zone for us. For the moment, funding for this expansion project is our main limitation.
Now that all our systems are in place, we would like to extend this offer to businesses (and individuals):