KHSS 100.7 FM Catholic Radio NEWS
KHSS will celebrate its 15th anniversary of sanctifying the airwaves on December 7, 2012. Thanks be to God!! Do you remember what life was like before Catholic Radio?
We have been in our new studios in the Gardner Building in downtown Walla Walla for five years now. The lower rent and lower utility costs (as compared to our old studios in the Die Brucke Building) have been a big help to us. This year we exercised our first renewal option to extend the lease for three more years. And with six additional three-year options to extend the lease, our new studios and the savings they will provide for us are secure.
NEW SATELLITE DISH
The new satellite dish installed in 2011 has proven to be a great investment. It has provided a rock-solid hiccup-free EWTN signal to our studios since the first day of installation over a year ago.
Our primary purpose is to keep the beauty and truth of the Catholic Faith filling the airwaves of our coverage area. This involves contingency/redundancy/backup planning that effectively anticipates timely recovery from failures of critical pieces of our operation. We do not have the funds to achieve 100% redundancy in our broadcast facilities, which means we have to limit our redundancy/backup purchases to those that are the most cost-effective. For example:
- EWTN Signal Reception: Two parts are needed to receive EWTN’s signal in our studio – a satellite dish and a receiver. We replaced the satellite dish in 2011 with a $4,000 top-of-the-line dish and mount that should easily last for another 50 years. Our EWTN receiver – a device we’ve used since our initial broadcast in 1997 – died earlier this spring. Thankfully, our redundancy plans called for a backup receiver to be in place and ready to go. With our backup receiver now acting as the primary, a backup receiver (with a cost of roughly $1,500) is on our list of potential purchases for 2013.
- Studio-to-Transmitter Link: We use microwave technology to beam our studio signal from downtown Walla Walla up to our transmission facility on Pike’s Peak in NE Oregon. This requires a microwave-send unit for the studio and a microwave-receive unit for Pike’s Peak. We have a backup microwave-receive unit ready to go in case our primary unit up on Pike’s Peak dies. We do not have a backup microwave-send unit, however. And so, a microwave-send unit (with a cost of roughly $3,000) is on our list of potential purchases for 2013.
- Transmitter/Antenna: The transmitter/antenna portion of our broadcasting facility is easily the most costly. We installed a new antenna at a cost of roughly $50,000 as a part of our signal upgrade in 2010. Our old antenna now serves as a backup. We acquired our transmitter in 2010 as a part of the signal upgrade. It is about 25 years old and in good working condition. We have a backup transmitter in place that can offer a low-power signal in case our primary transmitter ever needs repair.
- File Server: The file server is a computer on which is stored all of our audio files. Top-of-the-hour station IDs, Scott Hahn talks, fill music, commercials, etc. are all stored on the file server. Most file servers are kept in service by corporate IT departments for three to five years. Our file server was placed in service in 2001. Yes, we have a tendency to utilize our equipment until it wears out. Thus, a new file server (with a cost of roughly $10,000) is on our list of potential purchases for 2013.
- Audio Server: This component controls the on-air signal you hear when tuned to KHSS. The audio server decides when the EWTN signal is to be interrupted with station IDs, commercials, fill music, etc. (all of which are stored on the file server). Most general-purpose computers are kept in service by corporate IT departments for five to seven years. Our audio server was placed in service in 2001. Thus, a new audio server (with a cost of roughly $6,000 – including the sound card) is on our list of potential purchases for 2013.
As you can see from the list above, there is much more to fulfilling our primary purpose than paying monthly rent and electricity bills. And we also have a secondary purpose to fulfill: to help other northwest communities get Catholic Radio just like Immaculate Heart Catholic Radio in California helped us do so ten years go. We worked with a Yakima group in 2011 to bring Catholic Radio to that area. The Yakima signal is very limited – roughly 1/1000 the size of the KHSS signal. There is a much more powerful signal for sale in the Yakima area. We are in early talks with the current licensee about purchasing that signal. Please pray that these talks are fruitful.
Finally, we are investigating the addition of HD capability to the KHSS signal. This would allow us to broadcast multiple digital channels on 100.7 FM. For example, we could broadcast English Catholic on one channel, Spanish Catholic on another channel, and music on a third channel – all with CD-quality sound. We’re still in the early stages of our investigation. Thus far, it appears to be a project that will be much less costly than our 2010 signal upgrade.