New heights for public radio | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 11, 2008

New heights for public radio

Posted By on Fri, Jul 11, 2008 at 2:30 PM

They announced the details today of a deal I told you about earlier that will transmit Little Rock public radio signal from KATV's new tower on Shinall Mountain.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 11, 2008) – Dale Nicholson, president and general manager of ABC-TV affiliate KATV, and Ray Dillon, president and CEO of Deltic Timber Corp., have reached an agreement that will net UALR’s two public radio stations increased operational efficiency and expanded coverage area – an in-kind gift valued at about $2.7 million for the University.


The agreement will allow KATV to build a 1,150-foot tower on Shinall Mountain west of Little Rock, part of Chenal Valley and owned by Deltic Timber. The KATV tower will include antenna space at the 500-foot mark for UALR’s public radio stations KUAR and KLRE.


Once installed, the new tower will increase KUAR and KLRE’s broadcast reach and consolidate the public stations’ technical operations, which heretofore have been split between Shinall Mountain for KUAR and the Metropolitan Career-Technical Center on Scott Hamilton Drive for KLRE.


In addition, television station KATV will provide equipment space in a new state-of-the-art transmitter building at the tower site and provide all maintenance and upkeep of the facility.


“You won’t find many agreements like this between a commercial broadcaster and a public radio operation,” said Ben Fry, general manager of KUAR and KLRE. “It shows a real commitment from KATV and from Deltic Timber to support this community. Without partners like these, public radio’s ability to grow would be severely limited. I applaud Ray Dillon and Dale Nicholson for thinking outside the box.”


Nicholson has been searching for a new site for his station’s tower since Jan. 11 when KATV’s existing 2,000-foot antenna tower in Redfield, built in 1965, collapsed.


Relocating the KATV antenna to Shinall Mountain will save the station 500 feet of construction steel. When Nicholson approached Dillon about a lease, the Deltic Timber executive suggested a “win-win” solution for both the television and radio stations.


 “This is a classic case of killing two birds with one stone,” said Nicholson. “KATV saves a little construction steel for a taller signal, and UALR’s radio stations increase their signals by piggy backing on the taller TV tower.”


Dillon is delighted in the agreement. “We have been working with UALR for a number of years now trying to find the very best way to assist the radio stations and increase their coverage,” he said. “Our agreement with KATV included adding UALR to the contract so KUAR and KLRE could benefit from the new tower construction. We are pleased to have aided in this outcome for public radio in Arkansas.”


The KATV-Deltic Timber contract grants UALR an initial 15-year lease for $10 a year to broadcast KUAR and KLRE programming.


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