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FORT MILL TOWNSHIP --
Tune in any Charlotte area radio show that has a call-in segment and inevitably you’ll hear listeners from Fort Mill Township. If all goes as planned, in just a couple of weeks radio fans from Fort Mill, Tega Cay and Indian Land will get the chance to have their say on-air without having to dial an area code.
Jack Anthony of Fort Mill, aka “Jack At Night,” is piloting the venture. The station, owned by Spirit Broadcasting, is already on the air, simulcasting a sister station at 91.5 and as the audio for Comporium cable channel 19, which carries local access, such as town council meetings. Soon, however, the 140-watt station will broadcast the new format from his home studio. The commercial free station will be a blend of music – including local bands – and Fort Mill area-based programming.
The music will be “eclectic” Anthony. the operations manager, said, and based on a AAA Adult Alternative format.
“There won’t be anything offensive – it will be squeaky clean, but also satisfy the eclectic music listener,” he said, mentioning artists ranging from the Grateful Dead and Wilco to Adele.
“It’s like something you’d hear of ‘The Spectrum’ or “The Loft” on satellite radio,” Anthony said. “Music formats are very splintered right now and the Adult Alternative audience is an up and coming format for people in their 30s and 40s who don’t want to hear hard rock but want more melodic songs and more thoughtful lyrics.”
Music is only one element of the station. Anthony promises the station will be involved in the community and emphasize Fort Mill Township interests as part of the programming.
“We’ll have programming on local issues and shows hosted by local residents who will discuss topics like parenting, fitness and health,” Anthony said. “Biz partners who support people with the radio station will be doing good for the community - like if someone is having a food drive or something like that or say a church is having a carnival for fundraiser for a caus happy to come out for things like that we want to be there to promote things int he community.”
Although it won’t carry advertising, the station is not a not-for-profit. Anthony said he’ll need to build a revenue stream of $4,000 a month through corporate sponsorships, grants and listener donations to meet expenses, including artists’ royalties for the music. We’re looking at operating expense $4 grand a month $50,000 a year “It’s not a huge number but go a long way because our overhead costs extremely low.”
A test broadcast that was scheduled to begin 7 p.m. last Friday was scrubbed due to some technical issues but another test is planned to begin this Friday and last through the weekend. The station, which applied for call letters WFBK, should go live with the Fort Mill area format later this month, Anthony said.
Some local officials said they are looking forward to the addition to local media.
York County Councilman Chad Williams (D-District 7), who represents a large portion of Fort Mill, said “I think it’s one thing that make York County great, that we still have local media. That something you may not appreciate until its gone,” he said.
“I am curious and this commercial-free, for-profit thing will work out but I think it sounds like a good thing.”
Larry McCullough (R-District 1), who represents Indian Land on the Lancaster County Council, said he’s not surprised to see someone try to mine this market.
“If you look at the demographic and the energy here, the Panhandle of Lancaster County and from the Fort Mill perspective, this is still a growing area with a vibrant population that wants to get involved and make things happen,” he said.