By Marcy Stamper
The Methow Valley has a new radio station featuring music — as much as possible by local artists — and informational programming of particular interest to veterans.
After years of volunteer labor and thousands of dollars, KFAC, the low-power radio station of the American Legion Post in Twisp, is on the air at 105.5 FM.
Tristan Gilbert, the adjutant for the post, was awarded the frequency in 2014 after a rare window to apply to the Federal Communications Commission for new low-power frequencies.
The station will be broadcast from an antenna atop the Twisp Legion hall. The signal will reach listeners within a four-mile radius of the Twisp headquarters, said Gilbert.
Getting the station on the air was helped by the generosity of several local people. In addition to Gilbert, Dave Corrigan, a local radio buff who has been broadcasting from his own low-power station in Winthrop since 2014, assembled the equipment and trained Gilbert.
Jerry Palm brought out a boom truck to erect the radio tower. Others helped by donating or discounting used equipment when they learned that the station would focus on veterans’ affairs, said Gilbert.
At present, the legion’s station plays music 24 hours a day, along with public-service announcements from the American Legion on topics such as employment, education and women veterans. Educational programming will focus on the legion’s four pillars of service: veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation, national security, Americanism, and children and youth.
Gilbert records shows in advance, using a mix of the top-500 rock songs and music by local artists, including Terry Hardesty, Gregg Hardy and Lauralee Northcott.
While the current focus is on music, Gilbert envisions call-in shows and news and educational programming. “I’m willing to play just about anything, if it’s local and non-belligerent,” he said. “Children’s programming would be really neat.”
Gilbert is looking for volunteers. While veterans will get preference for hosting radio shows, that is not a requirement. Gilbert hopes the station will be a place for anyone is interested in learning about broadcasting.
There is also a recording studio in the legion hall, which provides the opportunity for live music on air, said Gilbert.
For more information or to become involved, call Gilbert at 997-5322.
The American Legion station joins KTRJ at 93.7 FM, where Corrigan, his wife and daughter have been broadcasting 24 hours a day since 2014. The station features Christian music and educational programs during the day and old-time radio programs such as “The Green Hornet,” “The Cisco Kid,” and “Fibber McGee and Molly” from 6 to 10 p.m. and midnight to 3 a.m.
Corrigan is working to ensure that both stations can provide communications with the public and first responders during an emergency.
KTRJ is also interested in having more local programming, such as music and church sermons. To volunteer, contact Corrigan at 996-2545, or firstname.lastname@example.org.