Community Radio Station KMUZ has completed installation of an emergency back-up generator at its transmitter site on a hilltop near Turner. “This is an important step in a multi-stage plan to equip KMUZ to serve listeners and local governments in times of crisis or emergencies,” said Station Manager Dave Hammock. This generator will keep KMUZ’s primary transmitter, operating at 88.5 MHz, on the air when power goes down in rural Marion County.
The project was funded by a grant from the Autzen Foundation and a Community Project Fund Grant from Marion County, as well as listeners and supports of the station. “We are grateful to Marion County for this support,” said KMUZ President Melanie Zermer. “We have been working since we first began operating to assist the Counties and Cities in our coverage area to communicate with their citizens. This step allows us to offer that communications channel when it may be most important.”
KMUZ operates a second frequency, 100.7 MHz, which broadcasts from a communications site closer to Salem. This translator/repeater is provided emergency power by the firm that owns and operates the site. “Now both frequencies will be able to keep broadcasting in a power outage,” said Hammock.
The mid-Valley’s community broadcaster will seek funding over the next year to complete the remaining steps in its long range plan to assist EMS and Public Safety entities in emergencies. As provided in the governing Board’s Strategic Plan, KMUZ will work to install a generator at the studio location in north Salem and to install base stations and license portable transmitters for a broadcast RPU (Remote Pick Up) system. The RPU transmitter can be used to connect the Studio with locations such as a command center in an emergency or a briefing at a communications briefing by EMS personnel.
“Such an RPU link also allows us to broadcast from a temporary location or serve as a temporary link between our studio and the transmitter” said Hammock.
KMUZ began serving Salem and the mid-Willamette Valley in December of 2011. Operating entirely with community volunteers, KMUZ is on the air 24/7 and produces nearly 100 hours per week of local, hand-crafted radio. The station is owned by Willamette Information, News & Entertainment Service, a locally charted non-profit corporation.