We have the power: WDIY completes tripling of signal strength to 300 watts, reaches 130,000+ new listeners

Dec 16th, 2015Press Release from WDIY 88.1 FM

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (December 15, 2015) — WDIY-FM has begun transmitting its signal strength at an FCC-approved 300 watts as of Dec. 4, 2015, tripling the power of its previous 100-watt signal and potentially reaching more than 130,000 new listeners around the periphery of the Lehigh Valley.

“From Phillipsburg, N.J. in the east to Breinigsville in the west, Moorestown to the north and Coopersburg to the south and to points beyond, the diverse music and programming on WDIY is now readily available to more people than ever at 88.1 FM,” said Wagner Previato, executive director of the station. “The core areas of the Valley will hear us better, too. It’s all part of our commitment to serving the region with locally-produced content that meets the needs of our residents.”

The celebration of the station’s 20th anniversary culminates with the signal strength upgrade.

“Realizing the largest expansion of our listener base during the celebration of our second decade is especially rewarding,” said Previato. “While many media outlets are cutting back, we are redoubling our efforts to grow our station to reach more people than ever before.”

Previato said the station is asking listeners to take a picture or selfie while listening to the station at home, in their car (while stationary, of course) or elsewhere in the region during the month of December and January and post it with the hashtag #wdiyhasthepower to Facebook or Twitter or e-mail it to gro.yidwnull@ofni for the chance to win tickets to upcoming shows in the Lehigh Valley.

Over Thanksgiving week, nearly $70,000 in new equipment was secured to an antenna atop South Mountain off of East Rock Road in Salisbury Township. The project was funded through a variety of grants from local and national philanthropic organizations and an important gift from one of WDIY’s major donors.

WDIY received approval in June 2014 from the Federal Communications Commission to triple the station’s power by replacing its existing antenna and transmitter with more powerful equipment. The increase expands the station’s reach to an additional 135,000 people and helps fulfill WDIY’s mission of fully reaching the entire Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas.

Before the upgrade, WDIY’s signal was limited to sections of Lehigh and Northampton counties with marginal spillover into adjacent counties: a service area of about 407,000 residents. The increase is expected to boost this to about 545,000 – an increase of more than 30 percent.

“We especially thank Charles W. Loughery, the architect of this milestone, for his wisdom, technical expertise and perennial advocacy of WDIY,” said board president Michael Kraynak. The station’s leading source of revenue is listener contributions, while its second is underwriting support from local businesses and institutions.  Kraynak said that in both instances, the station’s finances will improve as a result of the now larger broadcast footprint.

WDIY currently has a staff of five full-time employees and a budget of $560,000. About one-third of its revenues, $190,000, come from listeners and $165,000, from underwriting. The remainder is generated by public and private grants, as well as general fundraising activities. More than 100 volunteers dedicate over 19,000 hours per year to help operate the station and provide vital programming.

“We are a truly public radio station,” said Kraynak.

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WDIY 88.1 FM