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KTWH Progresses Toward Full Power Status

Two Harbors Community Radio (THCR), the non-profit owner of KTWH-LP (Low Pow­er) took action in 2021 to become KTWH-FM, a full powered community radio station. The Federal Communication System (FCC) re­quired TCHR to make an application for a new license as a full-service Non Commercial Edu­cational (NCE) station.

The application process is complex and ex­tensive and requires the services of a profes­sional engineer to prove the viability of the station’s plans. From start to finish the applica­tion process took a full year. The costs of this process were partially offset with a grant from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation of Duluth.

In March of 2022 the FCC granted approval to THCR to take over the full-power FM fre­quency 88.3 provided that within three years, by April of 2025, they go live on the air as KT­WH-FM. Currently KTWH-LP broadcasts at frequency 99.5.

Since that approval, THCR has continued to retain a professional engineer as data is gath­ered to assist in acquisition of a tower site, an­tennas, and transmitters to broadcast at 20,000 watts, expanding its coverage from its current ten mile radius around Two Harbors to include the north shore as far east as Silver Bay and the south shore Wisconsin communities.

“Very few low power NCE stations go to full power,” said Chris Belfield, board member of THCR and Chair of its Publicity and Public Re­lations Committee. Not only is the application process more complex than for a low power license, but the cost of building and operating a full power station is significantly higher. The board of directors of THCR is working with a budget estimate of about $200,000 to complete its full power project.

“We are actively pursuing fund raising efforts and grants,” Belfield said. The upcoming Cab­in Fever Reliever is but one avenue for raising money. Like all public and community radio stations, fundraising is a full time occupation.

According to the KTWH website, the Full Power project has a goal to “expand coverage to additional communities, in the process invit­ing new audience members to join the team of over 50 volunteers.”

In addition to funding, Belfield said that they are looking for volunteers to provide ideas for on-air programming, on-air talent, and con­struction of the new station. “We’d love to have an experienced radio engineer volunteer to assist us,” Belfield says.

THCR plans to leverage its resources by ex­changing and sharing programming content with other community radio stations in Minne­sota and other parts of the US.

Becoming a full power broadcaster, KTWH will remain a volunteer, listener supported platform.

To volunteer or donate to the effort visit www.ktwh.org , call the station at 218-595-6195, or mail a check to Two Harbors Community Ra­dio, P.O. Box 622, Two Harbors, MN 55616

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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