City funds roll in for East Side radio station’s antenna

With cash in hand, a studio location and programming in the pipeline, the East Side community radio station, 104.7 WEQY, is well on its way.

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the city of St. Paul, the station will be purchasing broadcast equipment. Kathy Harris, station manager, says the goal is for the station to begin broadcasting by early September, if all goes well, which would be months ahead of schedule.

Harris had been working as the manager on a volunteer basis, but the station recently got funding to put her into a paid position.

“Everything is looking pretty decent right now,” Harris reports.

The station’s studio location is now cemented -- it will be Plaza Del Sol on Payne Avenue, in a 2,000 square-foot space on the second story of the building.

The studio space is even bigger than the station needs, Harris says, but she suspects they’ll easily make use of all the room.

Construction hasn’t yet begun -- Plaza Del Sol has to first install a ramp to make the building’s second story handicap-accessible. Once that’s lined up in a few weeks, they’ll begin building out the broadcast studio.

The new radio station has also pinned down a slogan: Best of the East Side, or BEAST for short. The slogan was chosen by East Siders during the Night Out on East Seventh event in June.

To begin with, the station will test out mostly automated content, but Harris says programming is beginning to come together.

Deanna Foster, director of the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council, calls landing the grant money “our next step.”

“We want to start programs as soon as we can,” she adds. Dayton’s Bluff council applied for the station’s permits through the FCC.

And programs are indeed on their way. Harris says they’ve already got original East Side music shows lined up, and also have some Spanish-language radio programs in the works. There will also be a show called Parent Talk, which will delve into issues with the school system, and in particular how it deals with African American students, she says. The show is already part of a north Minneapolis radio station’s programming.

The station has begun doing broadcast trainings -- one was held in June, and a second is scheduled for Tuesday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council offices, 798 E. Seventh St.

-- Patrick Larkin


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