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NPR station down for a while

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” For the past week, the KUNC National Public Radio station at 99.7 FM has been unavailable to Eagle County listeners.

The problem, which stems from a weak signal sent by a new tower, may not be fixed for a while, KUNC station manager Neil Best said.

“There is an outside chance of several weeks, but it may be three of four months,” Best said.



Last week, KUNC moved a translator tower from its original site north of Greeley to an area west of Ft. Collins. The local translator on Castle Peak, just north of Eagle, is set to receive the station signal from the tower west of Ft. Collins.

“We raised the antenna by about 2,000 feet and it’s about 30 miles closer to Castle Peak,” Best said. “But we’re not getting much signal.”



Best thinks the signal may be bouncing off mountains somewhere along the way. Also, Best said, the tower at Castle Peak added another commercial frequency radio station a year-and-a-half ago, which causes more background interference for KUNC.

“We’ve addressed it,” Best said of the added station, “but we just can’t squeeze any more juice out of the turnip. The problem we have is like that in Edwards ” there were a lot of vacant lots and vacant commercial frequencies, and now there are not.”

The station is pursuing three options to reestablish a solid signal in Eagle County, including a possible purchase of a non-commercial license and establishing a band close to Castle Peak; finding an under-served location and purchasing another translator; or applying for a noncommercial license in October when the Federal Communications Commission opens up spots for the first time in 7 years.



“Our best option is in Grand County. We’re exploring to see if we can purchase a translator there and see if we can get enough power and get it through the Gore Range to Castle Peak,” Best said.

Eagle County listeners can tune in to KUNC online at kunc.org or try the local NPR frequency at 89.9 FM ” which has better upvalley reception ” or the Aspen Public Radio frequency at 88.9 FM ” better downvalley.

Staff Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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