A Crescent City radio station, once only available in certain spots of town and on the Internet, will now be able to broadcast to Fort Dick and beyond.
KFUG, which started out as an Internet-only station, received its 100-watt FM license from the Federal Communications Commission on Friday, said station owner Paul Critz. The station left its home at AM1570 behind last week and will air on 101.1 FM starting today.
“It sounds like a real radio station,” Critz said. “It’s really nice. We got all this professional equipment from the Humboldt Area Foundation. We might be able to skip across Pelican Bay and hit Brookings.”
The station’s transmitter and antenna are perched atop the Elks Lodge at 359 H St.
KFUG was one of 3,000 community radio stations that applied for an FM license from the FCC last fall, Critz said. KFUG registered with the Prometheus Radio Project, an advocacy group that encourages the FCC to license community radio stations. The organization also provides tools to help stations through the FCC application process, Critz said.
To get its license KFUG had to provide the FCC with the transmitter and antenna’s exact latitude, longitude and height, Critz said. He had to submit proof of the station’s non-profit status as well as the names of the people on its Board of Directors.
Critz worried that if he had made a mistake his application could have been rejected.
“I was really sweating for the last two months. You know, did I do it right? Turns out I did, so that made me happy.”
Del Norte’s remoteness and isolation proved to be an asset for KFUG. Of the 3,000 stations applying for a license, 2,000 were from large markets, Critz said. This meant many were competing for the same radio channels. KFUG didn’t have that problem. It and other “singletons” — stations with no competition — were processed first, he said.
“One of the first things you had to do was to find an open channel,” Critz said, adding that his engineer simply ran a search of open channels by market. “101.1, that has a nice ring to it. He came in with a list of frequencies and that was the one we applied for.”
To kick off its new foray on FM, KFUG will host a “get-to-know-KFUG” broadcast from noon to 6 p.m. next Saturday, Jan. 25, Critz said. The station will revamp its website and have its DJs come in and talk about their shows. For more information about KFUG, go towww.facebook.com/kfugradio.