WDIY Receives Green Light to Expand Broadcast Signal
WDIY-FM, the Lehigh Valley’s community NPR station, recently received Federal Communciations Commission (FCC) approval to triple the station’s effective radiated power from 100 to 300 watts. Once completed, the expansion will enable WDIY’s broadcast signal to reach an additional 250 square miles, an area including 135,000 potential new listeners.
Wagner Previato, executive director at WDIY, told PBS39 that the FCC’s approval is due in part to the difference that now exists between television and radio transmissions. WDIY had been previously unable to expand its signal due to TV and radio stations broadcasting in analog. Now, television stations operate on a digital frequency.
“Interference is less of an issue now,” Previato said.
The signal expansion will allow listeners to tune in to WDIY from Berks County to Warren County (NJ), going west to east, and from Carbon County to Bucks County, going north to south. In addition, areas in WDIY’s existing coverage area will receive a stronger, more even signal across the board, eliminating any pockets without a strong signal throughout the Lehigh Valley.
Paying for the change
Although FCC approval has been granted, the station still faces hurdles to complete the project. Specifically, WDIY needs a new antenna, transmitter and various broadcast equipment, projected to cost the station between $100,000 and $120,000.
Previato noted that he would like to see WDIY complete the project in 12 to 18 months. To make this possible, the station has embarked on a capital campaign, and will be applying for local, regional and national grants to reach its goal.
By reaching a wider audience, more listeners will have the opportunity to engage with WDIY content. For Previato, it is important to ensure that WDIY delivers content worth hearing.
“I want us to be the voice of the Lehigh Valley,” Previato said. “We have an opportunity to offer more in-depth interviews and stories, which other media outlets can’t always do.”
Soon, WDIY will have more than just an expanded signal – it will be mobilized with a remote broadcast unit. Previato told PBS39 that the station expects to begin implementing its remote unit by summer. This will increase the station’s presence in the community and ability to tell the stories of the Lehigh Valley.
“We can get real reactions from people (at events),” Previato said. “We can compose a segment, and share that with our listeners who may have never heard it otherwise.”
These developments fit right in with the renaissance of the Lehigh Valley. Previato sees WDIY playing a large role in the area’s progress going forward.
“I think this is an exciting time for the Lehigh Valley and WDIY,” Previato said. “It’s a great time to be here, because these are all positive changes. People are looking forward to working together for the benefit of the Lehigh Valley and its residents, and we want to do our part.”