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Bryson City radio station fine tunes programming for local AM airwaves

Two years after being saved from imminent death in the nick of time, WBHN began broadcasting regularly in Bryson City last week.

Lloyd Brown, pastor of Spruce Grove Baptist Church, bought the Swain County radio station in 2010 and has been slowly working to revive the AM frequency.

“It’s coming along. It’s going to take a while to build back up again,” said J.B. Jacobs, the station’s general manager.

The station will play Christmas music throughout the holiday season and also has several Swain County churches hosting programming on Sundays. The station also broadcasts the weather twice an hour and pulls new from the North Carolina news network.

However, WBHN has cued up gospel, bluegrass and country music to play after the Christmas season ends. And, the station is looking to reintroduce some of its old programs, such as The Trading Post, a type of call-in flea market, and Pet Patrol, which connects pet owners to pet buyers and allows families to spread the word about lost pets.

“We are going back trying to put on some of the local programs,” Jacobs said.

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To keep the on-air light glowing, WBHN must offer shows and music that Swain County residents enjoy — in hopes that listeners will translate into advertising to give the station a source of operating income.

“We need to cater to the local people and put on what they like,” Jacobs said.

It costs about $2,000 a month to keep the nonprofit station on the air. The same churches that transmit on Sunday are helping support WBHN but more is needed if the station hopes to survive.

Otherwise, it could once again face the threat of going dark. In 2009, the radio station suspended its operations for financial reasons. If a station goes dark for more than 365 days, the license to broadcast on that frequency is revoked by the Federal Communications Commission.

At the time, two competing groups began scrambling to save WBHN and get it back on the air before the FCC revoked its broadcasting license. With only days left to spare, Brown succeeded in purchasing the station.



Tune in

To listen, tune your radio dial to 1590 AM, and tell the station what music and programming you want to hear by calling 828.488.2682.

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