September 23, 2013 MFH (My Favorite Husband) and I wrote up our application to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to be granted a low power FM radio station and that day we Incorporated our radio station: Classic Book Radio.
We waited on pins and needles…waiting and waiting for the word from “on high” to see if we would be the proud recipients of a FM radio station!
See, both MFH and I are Amateur Radio Operators (hams). MFH has always been an active ham radio person. I have not. I’m a “bad ham.”
I can remember back in high school when MFH wrote me a letter during our summer break telling me he’d just earned his technical license. This was a big deal thing!
Back in those days (1970’s) a “ham” had to know “code” (Morse Code) to earn their license. He had done that plus learned all the technical stuff you needed to earn that license.
These days you don’t have to know code to earn your technical license….which is a good thing or else I’d probably have never earned mine! I’ve listened to code a lot. It’s really fun to listen to. It’s like little hyperactive squirrels chattering away. I can’t make heads or tails of it but MFH is pretty good at it!
Anyway, because he’s always been an active ham, he had learned about the openings the FCC would have available. They hadn’t had this opening for about 10 years so this was news!
MFH thought long and hard because we would need something special to be granted a license for a station. We bounced ideas off each other and then MFH came up with a great idea!!!
We both enjoy listening to audio books when we travel. By hook or by crook, we had stumbled across a site called Librovox.org They had worked with the Gutenburg Project to take all the printed materials in the public domain and, with the help of volunteer readers, record those materials!
All of the audio recordings are available for download to whoever would like to listen. We had taken to downloading a few books before a trip and listening to them while traveling.
We contacted these organizations and received permission to transmit their recordings as our radio station content! Sweet!!! We would be an audio book radio station! No music. No commercials…just books!
After what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, we got the news from the FCC that we had been granted our radio station!!!
Now, we had to get to work. We had an 18 month “construction permit” and in those 18 months we had to purchase all the equipment needed to run and operate a radio station. 18 months sounds like a long time but in reality, it’s not. The FCC said that if we didn’t complete all the government requirements in that 18 month window, we could request an 18 month extension. If, after that extension you couldn’t get your ducks in a row, well now, that’s just too bad isn’t it, and you’re out a radio station.
It was a lot of motivation!
First things first: We needed a station call sign. We tried and tried to find an available call sign that would go along with the idea of an audio book radio station. That ended up being a complete fail.
Everybody knows I call my husband (on social media) MFH. MFH stands for My Favorite Husband. I mentioned to my husband that we should see if the initials MFH were being used by anybody within the FCC. Well, how about that~NOBODY was using those letters! Hahaha!!! THAT is how our radio station ended up being called WMFH-LP.
Now that we had a station call sign, we set up an Indigo-go account in attempts to raise a little money towards purchasing a Transmitter. We needed a fancy box (gov’t required) that would broadcast severe weather alerts and any Presidential declared emergency kind of things. They were pretty high ticket items!
One of our “rewards” for contributing to the station was one of these T~shirts! I was in charge of getting the design work done for the shirts. I think they came out great! *they’re still available on our website: http://www.wmfhlp.org/
Here’s one of the video’s MFH made for the Indigo-go fund raiser. I loved it!
Fortunately, we already had our tower. When we first moved here, I got MFH a tower as his Christmas present. He had all the tower segments but needed concrete poured, guy wires purchased, nuts, bolts and lot of other knickknacks.
Our tower is 60′ but we have permission with the FCC to go up to 100′. We hope to eventually add that extra 40′ to the tower and expand our broadcasting area.
We did not meet our initial 18 month goal of gathering all the mandatory required equipment by the FCC so we were forced to ask for that extension. It was granted and we were back to work.
Finally, we had all our equipment! YAY!!! It was time to go on the air!
The FCC allows a little time of “practice broadcasting.” You broadcast…work the bugs out of the system BEFORE you notify the FCC you’re all set and ready to go 24/7.
I’ll never forget the day we decided to practice broadcast. I was afraid all the equipment would explode or something!
Silly really, but when you pour your soul into something for that long, you just never know what’s going to happen. Nothing exploded!
Last thing on our wish list of things for the radio station was a transmitter shed.
When all of this started, a transmitter shed wasn’t on the list. After a while of having all the station equipment in a spare bedroom we discovered two things: One~the equipment is noisy! Two~it generates a lot of heat!
Between those two things, we knew we had to get the equipment out of the house. Last summer we began construction on the transmitter shed. This was a DIY project. We had a lot of fun building it!
MFH carefully researched doing electrical stuff and wired the shed. We passed inspection!
Finally the day arrived to move all the equipment into its very own home. It sits in there, nice and cozy and transmits audio books every day of the week, 24 hours of every day, just as happy as a clam.
I’ve left out soooo many of the hurdles that have been jumped… The Non~profit status obtained…so many things that have happened in the past 5 years. It’s been a huge project and such a fun project!!!
Each day on our Radio Station FB page, MFH will post the next day’s broad cast schedule. https://www.facebook.com/wmfhlp/
He also Tweets it on our Radio Station Twitter page: https://twitter.com/wmfhlp
Of course the daily broadcast schedule is also posted on our website along with our streaming link! http://www.wmfhlp.org/
We finally got our streaming link up and running so no matter where you live(!) you can tune in. How exciting is that!?!
Streaming link: http://chrishoward.gtrwireless.com:8000/WMFHLP
Thanks for following along on our huge 5 year adventure! Things are still happening. We’re chatting with a few legal representatives to gain permission to broadcast a few works not in the public domain (pretty much anything published earlier than 1923). We’ve never tried this before so fingers crossed!!!