WAMC, the National Public Radio affiliate based in Albany, this week switched on a new broadcast translator in Lake Placid. On Tuesday, W204CJ (FM frequency 88.7) became the latest nodule in AMC’s spreading network of stations. The move into the resort community was first attempted in 2007 when WAMC’s President and CEO Alan Chartock tried to take over the FCC license for a frequency that was being renewed by NPR’s Canton, New York affiliate North Country Public Radio.
WAMC operates twenty-four broadcast and translator towers that send its programming to parts of over 40 counties in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The broadcaster’s expansive vision occasionally runs up against its original mission. Earlier this year on the final day of the legislative session in Albany, with votes on New York’s same sex marriage and budget bills still up for grabs, WAMC devoted both hours of its premier news analysis program, the Roundtable, to promoting a music festival in western Massachusetts.
This week, WAMC’s new Lake Placid listeners tuned in to Dr. Chartock’s signature frenetic exhortations during one of the station’s periodic fundraising membership drives. While they say there’s no second chance to make a first impression, public radio devotees in the Olympic Village might yet find some advantage to the timing of their new suitor’s arrival. North Country Public Radio holds its fall pledge campaign this coming week.
UPDATE:The trail was cleared for WAMC to operate the Lake Placid translator as part of an agreement reached in December 2007 when NCPR was seeking to upgrade to a full power signal from the weaker translator signal. WAMC sought a license to operate the same full power signal, but settled for the weaker translator in the wake of negative publicity. A third party broadcaster, Northeast Gospel Radio, Inc. from Rensselaer County also sought the full power license.
(Disclosure: Mark Wilson is a member of NCPR and contributes cartoons to the NCPR.org)