FCC Approves AM Radio Station for Scotch Plains-Fanwod

Both mayors have been working to get an AM radio station up and running for mostly emergency related purposes.

The following information was provided by the Borough of Fanwood.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a license for a community access radio station to be used by Scotch Plains and Fanwood to broadcast emergency and other information.

Both Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr announced they had applied for the license at their respective inaugurations on January 1, 2013. On February 16, 2013, the FCC granted the local community access license jointly to the two municipalities. The main purpose is to broadcast emergency information to citizens in the event of power, cable and other outages.

Plans are under way to secure the necessary equipment to program the station and transmit the signal. Activation is now scheduled for mid-May, 2013, at which time listeners may tune to 530 AM to hear the broadcasts.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to offer this service to our citizens,” said Mayor Glover. “It was the last available license in this area. We submitted our application immediately after Super Storm Sandy, giving us a leg-up on other applicants.”

"The radio station gives us another tool to communicate effectively with our residents," said Mayor Mahr. "In the event of a power outage that cuts off cable and web access, residents will be able to use an AM portable or car radio to tune to 530 to hear regular updates on conditions impacting the communities. We learned during Sandy that the more ways we can communicate during times of crisis, the better."

While emergency broadcast will be the primary mission of the station, it will also serve during non-emergencies to broadcast community activities.

Both Mayors touted the station as a shared service at a time when they are discussing a shared police department and other services to save money for taxpayers of both towns.

The Mayors also support getting the Board of Education involved in the station project.

Lenapee Tree February 20, 2013 at 08:06 PM
This is a good thing for the township. During Sandy I was the only person on my block with a battery powered digital TV. Those batteries were used up in a few hours so most of the emergency information we received was from the radio. Solar of course. The drug store downtown sold the TVs.
Rob February 20, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Good idea. What is the purpose of getting the BOE involved other than to split the cost? I believe this is a town function and should not come from school funds.
Nicole Bitette (Editor) February 20, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Hi Rob, I think the goal with the BOE is for them to have the ability to make their announcements on the station also. For example, school closings, delayed openings, early dismissals, events, etc. There has been no mention of the BOE funding the station at all.
Lenapee Tree February 21, 2013 at 12:37 AM
I don't know about the BOE, but please get the High School involved in this. Lets have a daily local news program done by students, then get the Drama club involved if there still is one, and have someone read the announcements that are currently posted in text on the TV channel. But please have none of that music that plays on that station. With today’s technology there could be live feeds hourly from downtown and the sports events. MP3 recorders cost under $25 each and your phone has the ability to store several minutes of sound files. Students could conduct short interviews with the people at Town Hall or the Historical Cannon Ball house. They could do live overnight nature sounds from the Watchung Reservation. Have real traffic reporting by people who just drove through town to school and broadcast live planning board meetings. But this would only be filler for when there is an Emergency. Then we could get the information we need quickly. Or we could have a 2 minute loop of computer read weather reports like that town next door. Ugh!
Nicole Bitette (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Hi Lenapee Tree, Thanks for your comment and your suggestions. There will be no music on the station, according to Mayor Glover.
ralphwiggummm February 21, 2013 at 01:12 PM
This station is a capital idea. I would hope it would be used for the broadcast of council meetings for both towns and perhaps a BOE meeting from time to time as well. But using its communicative powers during emergencies alone would be good enough for me. Kudos local government!!!
Holden MaGroin February 21, 2013 at 09:11 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and I think the radio station is a good idea. I believe that it should only be used in the case of emergencies. The reason for that is I would have to believe that if we wanted to have a radio station that does more than broadcast information during emergency conditions, there will be a cost to taxpayers that they may not want to pay. We already have TV34 and TV36 where we can see and hear town meetings, student news, athletic events from the 90's, etc. Bigby said to me that she doesn't have a desire to listen to people on the radio paying their taxes and Herbie informed me that only the fat deer make noise when they sleep. If they do choose to go for more programming beyond emergencies, I was the highest rated DJ at my college, Ball State.
Lenapee Tree February 22, 2013 at 12:18 PM
A cost analysis of the township radio broadcasting in both an Always-On and an Emergency-Only state might be a good way to review the actual savings. But allowing student use of the facility has many benefits and I do not begrudge schools or local park usage because they may have costs. I have seen several occurrences in my life where an emergency is the time the thing does not work, and the guy who works it forgot how to get it going. I would vote for Always-On. Our township channels are not on over the air broadcast digital TV. Always-On radio would be of benefit to township residents who are too cost conscious to have cable. I enjoy over the air broadcast digital TV programming without the benefit of a cable company, just an antenna and a converter box. So do a couple of elderly limited sight residents I spend time with. They would also be users of the Always-On radio. Frankly, if it costs a dollar more but the nice lady who lives on the corner gets to hear more local news because of it, I’ll cough up the buck. And nice try at bear baiting HM3, but cutting services just to make a joke does not seem too well thought out. And I would much rather hear from the HM account holder that does not use potty mouth. This is a forum read by children for goodness sakes. Have the next one done by HM2 when they get into work, they are much nicer.
Holden MaGroin February 22, 2013 at 02:14 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Tree. Please do not refer to me as #2, as we too have children and little Craven would blush if he knew someone was referring to his dad as a #2. In regards to my alma mater, would you have preferred I attended Skidmore? My response to your radio station suggestion above is first a slightly altered quote from Everett McKinley Dirksen, a dollar here a dollar there and soon you're talking real money. I will again submit that I think the radio station is a good idea, but should be used for emergencies. If we would like to see more or better programming, after they find the funds, they should put it into the TV stations. I'm not suggesting cutting any services as you charge, I'm in fact saying the expansion of new services should be limited. Who would you expect to oversee the students who will be interviewing downtown people? Who will edit and oversee content? Who will record those sleeping deer? Do you think it should be the hypothetical guy you say will forget how to get it going? No, it will be someone who receives a fee based on how much time they expect usage to be. Again, great idea for emergencies, not so much for everyday programming. IMHO And by the way, I am also not a bear baiter, but rather...oh nevermind.
Lenape Tree February 22, 2013 at 07:30 PM
I would rather not explain to the two old blind ladies that your need to make scat jokes is more important than their chance to hear our town radio info. I hesitate to bring it to there attention until things are set. Thee ladies do exist, unlike HM, although one can see a little with the bright light and magnifier set up she has. The Audio Tapes from the Blind are good for enough for them I guess. And the tape player buttons aren’t that hard to work. HM3 will just have to watch his wide screen pay per view and think of bad words and funny ways to say no to new ideas that might help other less fortunate residents. And kids who are interested in learning can learn the crude words from your on-line posts.
Holden MaGroin February 22, 2013 at 10:05 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Tree. I had a few comments on your fable but I will try to be serious. What exactly do you really think will be on the town radio? It sounds nice to want student run programming and volunteers that will take care of it all. Invoking 2 blind ladies too frugal for cable pining for local newscasts is a nice touch, but reality says there are many more pressing priorities. Trying to label me as multiple posters hurts as well. Pat MaGroin is starting to ask questions. Herbie is now wondering that if I do work for the town then why doesn't his street get plowed faster. You're making my life more difficult.
ryan abramowitz February 23, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Great news for our towns. I'm going to try and tune in to it a least once a day to hear whats going on.
Lenape Tree February 23, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Frugal is a funny way to describe widows in their situation. They don’t own a TV that I know of. Have your funny persona explain the joke sometime. As far as radio content, let’s get this thing on the air and have some public feedback. I would very much enjoy a ride through town with a station that let me know what is going on here. Did you see the problem on Lake Ave. yesterday? A quick update by a volunteer would tell you why. Have a computer problem. Did you know one of the oldest computer clubs in the state meets in the rescue squad building? And they have people who might set up a disk of info if asked. There’s a nice guy upstairs in the Train station that has hours of voice recorded interviews with locals. I bet he would play them. A lot goes on here that could use some access. You just relax and watch and watch your TV shows. You don't need to bother getting up. And don’t criticize the recent plowing; the last storm had the best plowing I’ve seen in several decades. If the branch pickup next fall is as thorough I’ll need to attend town meetings to find another topic to complain about.
Holden MaGroin February 24, 2013 at 12:43 AM
I'm Holden Magroin and this is for the artificial Tree. I never liked it when others slightly changed the spelling of my name to pretend to be me. It appears you've lost an "e" in your name for your last 2 posts. Perhaps those 2 blind old ladies who are your neighbors can help you locate the "e". I don't mind having differing opinions with lenapeE Tree and sometimes enjoy giving him/her the business. The fact they believe I'm more than one person and work for the town also brings me amusement. Having said that, I don't think they would appreciate you trying to impersonate them with an ever so close screen name. Neither do I. I may be Holden MaGroin, but I do have some scruples.
Lenape Tree February 24, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Its still the same person posting, but a friend pointed out I shouldn't chastise the H crowd for potty mouth when my sticking keyboard gave my screen name an extra letteer and a unfortunate ending. Now I match the sign on the corner. Who do you people match? Would you please all get together and fix the Frazee house. It could be done like a barn raising.
Holden MaGroin February 24, 2013 at 11:20 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for my forest of new friends. To Tree2. I also do not like unfortunate endings. My preference for happy endings is legendary. To Tree1. I kind of liked your spelling. It made me think you were French.
Lenape Tree February 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM
I’m just a solitary beech who fixed a spelling error in the account name. I used the technique one HM taught me on January 21, 2013 in the posting “Scotch Plains and Fanwood Property Taxes Higher Than State Average, Among Highest in County”. Thanks for the tip, it helped straiten up the account name. But you HM guys should really compare notes. When one of you confesses it makes the rest look bad. And as always, I dislike paying government workers who monitor and comment on public boards during normal ‘working’ hours. Is that why my request for forms or records take so long? Your wooden bench is not very comfortable.
Holden MaGroin February 25, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Tree#2. Now you have made my little saplings blush with your first sentence. But that's ok, I sometimes have to also say "do as I say, not as I do." Since you seem to be having such fear and frustration with your dealings with the people who work in town hall, and are of the belief that it's because the workers are posting on the Patch, I would guess that it's in your right to demand from the town manager that he check the computers to make sure they are not using the town computers or servers to post here. I would guess that it wouldn't be too hard to do that. Perhaps even Bo has already checked.


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