File under: What I wish I could do, if I had the money.
Imagine, as an engineer, owning and running your very own radio station. Not just any radio station, but a 50,000 watt flame thrower heard over most of the eastern US. Dude! Only one minor detail, it is a Shortwave station, which, by FCC regulation is only supposed to be listened to outside of the US, hence the official FCC name, International Broadcasting. As I said, minor detail.
Anyway, WBCQ is heard at various times on 5110, 7415, 9330, and 15420 kHz both in and outside of the US. Their full schedule here. Last night I was treated to the Lost Discs radio show, featuring rare tracks not often found or heard anywhere. It sounded like they were having a lot of fun and it was entertaining, which is why I continued to listen for well over an hour. Besides which, they played a cover of one of my favorite songs, Wish you were here, as played by Kris McKay.
I put up the video for the song that was in it, and, no, I don’t know who those grainy people are.
It seems that the owner, Mr. Weiner is a fellow radio engineer and long time radio enthusiast. He was and still is a strong proponent of radio for the good of the public. Most of his earlier attempts to own radio station fell on the other side of the legal line, being not quite sanctioned by any government authority. At first, he did attempt to obtain a license and was turned down by the FCC, prompting him to write this reply (shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia):
- …we went about a year ago … to apply for a license. Our attempt proved quite humorous to your employees, who sent us away with word of “Forget it.” Further investigations showed us why our attempt was then so comical. Licenses were so expensive and hard to get that even small stations were being sold for millions. Broadcasting was reserved for power men.
- …We are not disputing, however, your right to assign channels and set aside bands for the prevention of interference. We certainly, however, are disputing your right to reserve broadcasting for the well-to-do only.
So, I applaud Allan Weiner and his never say never attitude. Perhaps one day, I’ll apply for an international broadcasting license and do something similar. I wonder if he gets many RFI complaints from people living around his transmitter site. I once had one from somebody who was receiving the radio station on the outlets in their kitchen. Seems Larry King was not their thing…