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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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WRGW may find a new home on the FM dial

A new initiative approved by the Federal Communications Commission Thursday may allow WRGW, GW’s radio station, to switch over to an FM station.

The FCC approved plans to create Low Power FM radio stations nationwide. This approval will allow smaller religious, community and educational broadcasters to expand their airwaves.

WRGW officials said they hope the University station will become one of the Washington stations to receive a new address on the FM dial. An FM license would improve the power and clarity of WRGW.

We’ve been waiting for this, said Ian Spring, assistant production director for WRGW.

The FCC will award 10-watt and 100-watt licenses to approved stations. One hundred-watt stations will have a broadcast distance of up to seven miles, while a 10-watt license can broadcast between one-and-a-half to three miles.

The number of new FM station licenses offered to District radio stations will depend on the amount of FM already in the area and possibilities of interference between signals. Many large conglomerates are concerned about new broadcasters’ interference with their stations, the National Association of Broadcasters told The New York Times.

The District has room for about three more 100-watt stations, according to The Times. Though Cohen hopes to receive a 100-watt license, he is unsure for which license WRGW will apply.

The FCC will decide the number of new licenses after the completion of the application procedure, which takes place in May.

Cohen said WRGW has been working to get FM status and the new facility in the ground floor of the Marvin Center was built to accommodate it.

The FCC will award the licenses according to a point system, which gives benefits to stations that have a strong presence in their community and promise to broadcast eight hours of local programming every day. Cohen said he feels WRGW will do very well on the point system.

We broadcast 14 hours of live, original programming a day and are on the air 24 hours a day, including syndicated programs, Cohen said.

WRGW is broadcasted on 540 AM, on GW cable channel and over the Internet. The station is working to improve its Internet service, Cohen said. WRGW will change audio streams shortly, which will lead to dramatically improved service.

When the station integrates a new stream, they will be able to handle anyone at GW who wants to tune in or anyone from around the world, for that matter, Cohen said.

If WRGW is awarded a Low Power FM license, the student-run radio station will become much more accessible to the University community.

The FCC approval of Low Power FM licenses is the first step of WRGW in becoming fully prominent at GW, as well as in the District, Cohen said.

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