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TERA looking to build radio station in Whitmire

By Derik Vanderford dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

February 7, 2014

WHITMIRE — Before moving forward with plans for a new radio station in Whitmire, a local group will seek help from the mayor and town council.


Last Thursday, TERA (Tyger-Enoree River Alliance) — an organization which protects and promotes the local rivers — organized a community meeting to discuss the implementation of a new radio station — WHMR-LP 96.5 FM. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Whitmire Town Council, the Whitmire Economic Development Committee and interested citizens, as well as TERA leadership.


The group will address the mayor and council members at the Feb. 10 meeting about the possibility of TERA leasing a vacant lot from the town, which is just around the corner from TERA’s office.


TERA co-founder Jon Durham said once those logistics are settled and those involved have a better idea of the level of support the town will be able to offer, the group will launch fundraising campaigns to raise funds for construction of the station.


Durham also said TERA has contacted Dean Naujoks — Yadkin Riverkeeper and Southest Regional Representative for the Waterkeeper Alliance — about partnering with TERA to develop the internet simulcast of WHMR-LP 96.5 FM.


“We are in the early stages of developing regional, perhaps national, programming that could be broadcast on the station,” Durham said. “Rather than go ‘dark’ or automated during off hours in our broadcast area, we think that those hours could be filled with programming from other organizations with a similar interest in conservation and water quality in our region and the entire country.”


Durham said an internet simulcast would allow the station to reach far beyond Whitmire.


“Think about the fact that at midnight here, it’s 9 p.m. in California,” he said. “If our broadcast is available on the web and linked through the vast Riverkeeper network and affiliates that already exist, WHMR has the potential to not only serve our community, but potentially serve conservation efforts on a regional and national level. When you think about it in that light, it is an extraordinary opportunity to build a powerful tool that can have an impact on a much broader scale — all from right here in the Pearl of the Piedmont.”


Durham said while TERA’s focus remains on its local community, its good fortune can be shared with others working in their respective watersheds around the country.


TERA has 18 months to build the station under the terms of its permit from the FCC. Durham said those involved hope to have it up and running sooner, perhaps as early as this fall.


“We are still working to get all of our resources together so that we can make this vision a reality,” Durham said.


Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234.