New Fm Radio Station In The Works

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When the Rim country's newest radio station takes to the airwaves in a few months, Steve Bingham hopes its call letters will be KPSN.

Those were the call letters of Payson's first television station, which Bingham operated for the two years it was on the air in the early '90s. While his new low-power FM station has been assigned a frequency 96.3 he can't apply for call letters until a construction permit is issued.

"We expect to get our construction permit some time in May, and we hope to be on the air the first part of June," Bingham said. "So far KPSN is still available."

KPSN-TV was, Bingham said, "the only low-power television station in the entire U.S. to be given Court TV. We went from the Menendez Brothers to O.J. Simpson.

"But then I also produced three local shows every week," he said. "It was a lot of work, and we didn't make any money either."

The new radio station will fit into a category Bingham calls "community radio," and it will operate under the same guidelines as National Public Radio.

"We are a non-profit organization, and we can't sell advertising," he said. "But we can have sponsors, we can get support money, and we can get memberships."

While the station's musical format will include a wide variety of genres, country-western will not be part of the mix.

"I don't mind country-western, but I miss the other types of music," Bingham said.

"I love jazz and I can't hear it up here. I love light classical and I can't hear that up here. I love some of the really classic '50s rhythm and blues, and some of the doo-wop music. And if you've ever heard Cajun music, that will get you rocking."

But, Bingham is quick to emphasize, he does not consider his new station in competition with KMOG. In fact, he shares ownership of local government access Channel 7 with KMOG, and has kept station management informed of the entire licensing process for his new station.

The new station will be on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As Bingham currently envisions the programming, which will all originate locally, music genres will be matched to appropriate time slots.

"We might call the 4-6 p.m. slot the dinner hour and play something suitable for dinner maybe light classical," he said. "After dinner from 6-8 p.m., if you want to sit back and read, we might have some classical jazz nothing too heavy. Then from 10 to midnight, we might play jazz."

While music is already being loaded into the computer, Bingham would like more input from the community regarding music preferences and time slots. His e-mail address is steve@dustylens.com.

He also hopes to enlist the help of volunteers in operating the station, and would like to see both Eastern Arizona College-Payson and Payson High School involved.

The services of both an engineer and a program operator have been secured, and the equipment is also in place. Best of all, being a low power station means a large antenna is not required. But low power also means limited range, and Bingham won't know which areas the signal will reach for sure until he's on the air.

"More than likely we'll cover all of Star Valley. We'll cover Mesa del Caballo like a blanket. With any luck, we'll cover Pine."

Bingham has formed a non-profit corporation called Payson Council for the Musical Arts which will own and operate the station.

In addition to operating the radio station, the group will "actively support all musical events in Payson," Bingham said.

The group, which meets the first Tuesday month, has 31 active members and is looking for more. To join, e-mail Bingham or call 474-1849.

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