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Friday Feedback for June 16, 2023

As your public media station, WHQR takes listener input very seriously and for a number of years we aired a regular feature called, “Friday Feedback”. We've heard from listeners who missed this short review of questions and comments along with updates about the station. From here forward, as we have listener voices and information to share, you'll find it all on our reboot of "Friday Feedback".

Here’s WHQR Station Manager, Kevin Crane.

Kevin Crane: We heard from a number of listeners asking about our signal in recent weeks. An understandably frustrated Joseph Pawlik was one. He wrote: “The ongoing transmitter problems are really frustrating and I’m surprised that they continue all these months later. I rely on WHQR to be there when I am doing menial tasks at work and home, and when all I get is static it is really annoying. Certainly no commercial station would survive such a long period of “maintenance.” When will this end?”

I wrote back to Joseph explaining that this time, for once at least, transmitter problems were not the source of our recent interruptions. WHQR shares a tower with our friends at WECT-TV, who are also the owners of the tower. This month, WECT is in the process of reinforcing the tower top to bottom, in preparation for the replacement of their broadcast antenna at the top of the tower. This means tower workers must pass in front of or near the WHQR antenna. At those times, for the safety of those tower workers, WHQR has to broadcast at low power to reduce workers exposure to radio frequency radiation. Last Saturday, the workers were reinforcing right where the WHQR antenna is on the tower, so they reduced our power first, then turned our transmitter off for 40 minutes for their safety.

When we are operating at low power, our listeners may experience reduced coverage, static in the signal and no HD reception. I wish we could say how long this process will take, but the tower workers can only work in good weather when it’s not too windy to be up that high, so depending on the weather, it could be weeks of periodic low-power operation. We apologize for the inconvenience, and want to remind our listeners that our streaming to the WHQR app, computers and smart speakers is not affected by our broadcast, so if you can’t get us clearly when we’re at low power, please do try our online stream.

In the meantime, our old tube transmitter has been behaving well lately, and operating at full power as we’ve been awaiting the arrival of our new solid-state replacement transmitter. I’m happy to say that we accepted shipment of the new transmitter this week. It will take a few weeks to complete installation, but I’m told the service interruption for the switch to the new transmitter will be brief. Watch the WHQR website for news on our progress.

We also received a number of positive email responses about the Wilmington Dive, a newsletter partnership between the digital magazine The Assembly and WHQR. Comments like “I like it!!! Good job!” and “Nice work. Keep it up.” confirm to us the need for coverage and analysis of local issues beyond the time available in our broadcast day. If you’re interested in getting The Wilmington Dive in your email box, there’s a link to sign up on the WHQR home page.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. We always love to hear from our listeners. We're on Facebook and Twitter, or write an email for Friday Feedback to feedback@whqr.org. We look forward to hearing from you.