Grand County NPR listeners jonesing for KUNC may get their signal back | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County NPR listeners jonesing for KUNC may get their signal back

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Diverse radio programming used to fill the airwaves inside Jill Miles’ Grand River Coffee Co. shop in Granby.

But now, it’s the constant play of satellite radio songs.

Miles says she misses public radio.

“I used to have it on in the shop all the time,” she said. “I was getting ready to join (become a paying member), but then they lost the signal. I had to go out and buy satellite radio to get anything reliable.”

“They” is KUNC, the East Slope-Front Range community-licensed public radio station, operated by Community Radio for Northern Colorado Inc., Colorado non-profit.

When KUNC moved its transmitters last July to provide a cleaner signal to the Boulder, Golden, Denver population, they created KUNC dropouts, and one of them was Grand County.

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But National Public Radio addicts don’t stay silent when their fix is taken away.

Immediately, they were contacting the station to get reconnected.

A meeting scheduled for 7p.m. tonight at the Granby Community Center is an effort to work toward that.

KUNC Community Advisory Board member Will Arduino of Granby says he now streams public radio on his home computer. But that’s far from ideal with Web signals dropping into thin air, forcing a re-boot.

And what does he do when he’s driving?

“I go without and I go crazy,” he said. “I truly do miss it. I’m very anxious to have it back so I’ll also be able to walk the dog and listen to public radio in the morning.”

There are roughly 168 listeners in Grand County who have supported NPR, but the actual number of listeners is estimated to be much more.

Neil Best, the station’s general manager, said he hopes to glean insight from the former listening community on what the best solution is for the future of KUNC in Grand County.

According to Best, there are 20 registered towers in the area, but which tower is the best location is still undecided. Finding a translator that covers the entire county, west-end to east-end, is probably not going to happen, he said. Thus, the community needs to weigh in on where they want signal strength.

“We’re thinking it’s the Granby, Grand Lake, Tabernash, Fraser, Winter Park and Hot Sulphur Springs area we need to key in on,” Best said.

Engineering maps and information will be at the meeting to deliberate what solution will grant KUNC the best geographic coverage.

Whatever the solution, the project is expected to cost the station about $40,000, Best said, so another reason for the meeting is to find out “what the community consensus is on how to achieve that,” he said.

Since KUNC is a nonprofit organization, fundraising in the community is a consideration.

“We hope to find out what the interest level is, how to pay for it and the locations available,” Best said.

FM radio follows line of sight, so the most affordable tower lease may not be the best.

But the general manager said it’s still the station’s goal to bring NPR to its devoted Grand County audience, perhaps as soon as May.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

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