It's official! On Friday, February 17th, 2017 Salt & Light Radio began broadcasting on the FM dial in Boise (102.3)! Praise be to God! It's another minor miracle in a long list of miracles that has helped to build this apostolate over its seven year history. Here's the background:
In the Fall of 2015, the FCC announced a new initiative called the "AM Revitalization Act" -- by which, they desired to improve the lot of AM broadcasters around the USA, many of whom have had their signals degraded or lost listenership due to poor signal quality because of competing frequencies. While KGEM (1140AM) has not been similarly affected, Salt & Light Radio was able to benefit from a key provision of the "Act", which allowed existing AM broadcasters to go out in the commercial marketplace, find an FM Translator, and move that Translator up to 250 miles into where their AM signal resides.
Salt & Light Radio managed to find an existing FM Translator Construction Permit (CP), which had not yet been built in Hailey. It was owned by Minnesota Public Radio, who agreed to sell it to us for $30,000. While this may sound like a lot of money, other FM translators granted to the Boise area in recent years have sold for as much as $150,000. So, we got a very reasonable price, since the Translator came from a much smaller listening market. Of course, additional transmission equipment needed to be purchased as well as paying for engineers and legal counsel. In total, the whole project came to approx. $60,000.
The next challenge was to find an acceptable and available channel on the Boise FM dial, which is now packed with stations, if you haven't noticed. We believe that we found the last and best available channel to put our Translator on and managed to prevail against other applicants for it.
Finally, we needed a broadcast site for the Translator. We went through four different contingency plans before landing -- again -- at what we believe to be the BEST and most economical location at the Wilderness Ridge site near Bogus Basin.
Special thanks and recognition need to be given to Kip Guth for all of his hard work and perseverance in seeing this project to its completion! Thanks to all of you for your prayers and financial support. We are confident that this new signal will expand our listenership and pray that even more souls will be brought to Christ through this FM signal.
P.S.: In case some of you are wondering, we will have an opportunity to similarly be able to add FM Translators to our other stations -- for free! -- in the next upcoming Translator application window with the FCC. We are told that this should happen some time around the end of this year. So, look for more FM signals in 2018!
Keith Pettyjohn is the President of the Salt & Light Radio Board.