More Power for High Plains Public Radio

Symbolic Broadcast Tower for Power Increase

Symbolic Broadcast Tower for Power Increase

High Plains Pubic Radio in Garden City, KS held a launch party last Thursday, March 12, at the Lamar Cultural Events Center, to celebrate the expansion of their coverage in the Prowers County region.  KCSE FM, one of several translator relay stations that broadcasts locally 90.7 on the FM dial, has been operating in Prowers County for several years at 250 watts which had limited coverage of only 20 miles from its transmitter site.  The occasion celebrated the increase in power to 4,000 watts which will broaden the coverage area for Prowers County, east to the Kansas line, north towards Eads and west to the outskirts of Las Animas.

HPPR Signal (2)

Prior to the ceremonial lighting of a small broadcast tower, representing the power and coverage increase, a message was broadcast to the gathering relating HPPR’s origins in Lamar, beginning as a 10 watt antenna located atop a grain elevator in 1984, to 250 watts starting in 1998 from an antenna atop the KLMR-FM tower.

Frederick Esgar at HPPR Event

Frederick Esgar at HPPR Event

Kathleen Holt, HPPR Strategic Project Coordinator, said grants and underwriter donations help raise the funds from the initial seed money, to provide for the increased coverage.  “We’re really thankful for all the local support we’ve received in the Prowers County community to make this come to pass,” she said.  A federal grant of $137,000, coupled with matching local grants of $35,000 made the increase possible she said.  Long-time supporter, Frederick Esgar was noted for his family’s contributions over the years, among other contributors in Colorado and Kansas.  To the background of Aaron Copeland’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man, the first song broadcast for the debut of the original HPPR station in 1980, Esgar through an switch on the model tower, illuminating the lights, all the way to the top, which represented the power increase for KCSE.

Cindee Talley, HPPR Regional Programming Director, interviewed members from the gathering on their favorite programming on the National Public Radio station and any of their favorite memories or a story to tell about what the programming has meant to area listeners.  The recorded and broadcast testimonials will be used as part of a promotional campaign to inform other potential listeners about the programming available through NPR or HPPR.  Esgar joked with the audience, saying he considered going into his neighbor’s cars and changing their radio dials to 90.7FM so they’d learn about the station.

Deb Oyler, the Executive Director for High Plains Public Radio, said it was unfortunate that the federal funding, the Pubic Telecommunications and Facilities Program, which made the upgrades possible for similar stations across the country, has gone away.  “We were able to do this increase with that 75% match, but unfortunately, it’s no longer available,” she explained.  Oyler said that there is some growth in online broadcasting, especially with added interest in regional news stories.  “People are tuning in to listen to them, and our streaming is increasing among our younger demographics.  That’s exciting as we’re reaching a younger audience with Public Radio,” she said.  Oyler added that the online offerings provide a visual experience, as the listener can also see the people who are highlighted in the stories.

By Russ Baldwin



Filed Under: BusinesscommunityCountyEducationEntertainmentEventsFeaturedGranadaHistoryHollyLamarProwers CountyRecreationUtilitiesWiley


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