Asheville radio station to broadcast frequency in Tryon

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sometime next year, residents in Polk County and Landrum could be able to pick up a new public radio station, WCQS via FM 88.1.

Tryon Town Council met Aug. 18 and approved allowing WCQS out of Asheville to test use of its communication building on Tryon Peak.

The town will consider a lease after the station can assure the town no interference is being made to the town’s communication frequencies, particularly for emergency services.

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Jason Reed, director of Technology & Broadcasting at WCQS – Western North Carolina Public Radio, met with commissioners last week and presented the station’s proposal.

Reed asked for permission to use space for equipment on Tryon Peak in the town’s building and to erect a 20 ft. pole on the side of the building. He said the station would compensate the town for any electricity consumed, estimated at under $50 per month.

“We have established similar relationships with multiple cities across western North Carolina, including Black Mountain and Highlands,” Reed said, “and look forward to doing the same with the (Town) of Tryon.”

Reed said WCQS offers news, information and entertainment programs from National Public Radio, American Public Radio and Public Radio International as well as local news.

“It has always been our goal to serve the communities of western North Carolina and we are excited about extending this service to your community,” Reed said.

Tryon Town Manager Joey Davis said conversations with the radio station likely began with former town manager Justin Hembree. Reed said the station received a grant and recently got a license for the Tryon Peak property. He said the station will have to build the pole by 2016. He also said the frequency should do a very good job of covering the Tryon, Landrum and most of Saluda areas.

“We’re extremely confident that we won’t interfere but take responsibility to take our signal down if so,” Reed said.

Davis said he has spoken to police chief Jeff Arrowood who is fine with the addition of the station with the understanding that if there is a problem it will be fixed.

Commissioner George Baker said as long as the station agrees to put it up and be there to make sure it doesn’t interfere with the town’s emergency service frequencies.

Reed said he plans to get a temporary internet connection so he can remotely turn it off for the first month or two just in case there is any interference.

“We take it very seriously and understand what interference could mean,” said Reed.

Council approved the station installing equipment and doing tests and if it works well to come back with a lease agreement. Reed said the station has done yearly leases, five-year leases and up to a 15-year lease. He said the station is comfortable having a one-year renewable lease with the town.