Frequency changed, KOYT 96.3 community radio to return within weeks

Members of the Anza Community Broadcasting council meet Wednesday, Nov. 1, to discuss the antenna move for KOYT 96.3. Present are Director Bob Giffin, Secretary Flavia Krieg, Compliance Officer Annika Knoppel, Director Liese Carney; President Erinne Roscoe joined through a Skype broadcast, and Carnie listened and participated through a mobile phone hookup. Tony Ault photo

Anza’s only community radio station, KOYT 96.3, which has been off the air since July, may be coming back to the airwaves soon with a new frequency, stronger signal and better coverage, following an antenna move now in progress.

The new radio frequency at “KOYT 97.1 means more fun,” members of the Anza Community Broadcasting council of directors said, during their regular meeting, Nov. 1, at the radio station studio.

It was all good news for the council who reported that the antenna that was moved from its previous location on former council director Robert McCloud’s property to its new location is now ready to be installed and wired for transmission.

“We are at the finish line, and that is amazing,” ACB President Erinne Roscoe said in a Skype conference at last Wednesday’s meeting. The council is waiting for the 10-foot antenna to be mounted atop the 46-foot pole, so it can be connected and tested within the next two weeks. “Once testing is done, we are ready to roll,” ACB Director Bob Giffin said.

KOYT 96.3 has not been heard on the airwaves since the antenna was taken down earlier this summer, but the station continues to provide live streaming music and programs on the internet at www.KOYT963.org.

ACB Secretary Flavia Krieg said the antenna move will improve the community station’s broadcast reach toward the west including the Lake Riverside Estates. With the help of the Anza Electric Cooperative, the antenna pole was moved to its new location with the approval of the Federal Communications Commission and broadcasting was temporarily halted. The 25-watt transmitter antenna once calibrated and approved by the FCC will go back on the air, broadcasting seven days a week with music and new programming at the new 97.1 frequency.

Krieg said the station already has its construction permit for the pole, and once it is done, the ACB automatically gets the new frequency licensed from the FCC. The license is currently held by the Anza Civil Improvement League under a partnership agreement with the ACB. The license will become solely the property of Anza Community Broadcasting in February 2019. In order to expedite the frequency change, the council hired an FCC representative and electrician to be sure the antenna and equipment are up to FCC standards for community broadcasting.

The move requires testing the broadcast range of the radio station to be sure that it will not interfere with other larger radio stations in Mexico and Southern California. Krieg said two powerful stations, one in Mexico and the other in Los Angeles, sometimes reach into the KOYT broadcast area, but the signals are weak. The low-powered 97.1 KOYT community station should not interfere with them, the engineer reported. Final word on the issue will be forwarded by the FCC.

The council will be printing new posters and banners with the logo change. The KOYT coyote silhouette will remain the same on the logo; only the frequency number will be changed. Updates will regularly be given on the station’s website.

Krieg said the ACB is hopeful that once the station begins broadcasting again and the testing is complete, they can reapply to the FCC for a more powerful 50 to 100-watt license that will reach out even further into the Anza, Aguanga and Garner Valley areas. The largest radio stations broadcast from 50,000 to 100,000 watts of power.

The Nov. 1 meeting of the nine-member ACB council brought together a quorum of six, partly through the electronic media. Meeting at the station headquarters on Barham Road were Krieg, Giffin, Compliance Officer Annika Knoppel and Director Merrie Kraaz. ACB President Roscoe, who was at home ill, joined the meeting through a video Skype, while Director Liese Carney listened and participated through a mobile phone.

In other business, the ACB council discussed the treasurer’s report that showed ACB had a balance of $4,008.51 in the bank. The recent golf tournament fundraiser brought in a gross of $2,384.34 before expenses that still were being reported.

“We are in the black for sure,” Giffin, who heads up the fundraising efforts for the council, said. The golf tournament prizes were made possible through a grant from the Pechanga Indian Tribal Council, Giffin said.

Anza Community Broadcasting is reviewing a number of new programs. Underwriting opportunities are available for local businesses as well, Giffin said.

To enhance the stations transmitting ability, the studio will be upgrading their mixing boards soon, it was reported.

The ACB council voiced some concern that the new ACIL board was requesting by letter more detailed information on the council’s recent activities when the board already receives monthly and quarterly financial and operational reports. Representatives of the two groups are scheduled to meet this week.

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