Public radio WUOT 91.9 FM will complete a four-year project next week when the station moves its main transmitter from the WBIR-TV tower site to the Richland tower site and converts to HD Radio. The move will begin Tuesday, May 3, and is expected to be completed within 10 days.
During the move and digital conversion, WUOT will broadcast from a smaller-wattage, auxiliary transmitter, which primarily will serve listeners in Knox County. However, due to the lower power output and elevation, it is likely that other important service areas will lose WUOT’s signal during the transition. Listeners in areas not reached by WUOT’s temporary broadcast signal may listen online at www.wuot.org.
“This is a major undertaking,” said WUOT Director Regina Dean. “Not only are we moving our four-component, five-ton transmitter, Harris Corporation staff will converting it to the first HD Radio signal in the region. We-re proud to be one of the first stations to bring this new technology to our listeners. It will allow WUOT to provide more and better service to this community, so we ask our listeners to be patient as we literally dismantle, relocate and re-install our transmitter.”
HD Radio is the next generation of radio and is a method of transmitting audio and data. In addition to providing improved audio quality, HD Radio will provide on-screen information and a second audio channel for additional programming when the technology is fully operational.
WUOT received a $75,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to assist in converting its main transmitter to HD Radio. During last spring’s on-air fundraiser, WUOT listeners provided an additional $55,000 to help match the federal grant.
The move to the new tower is the result of a multi-year project begun in 2001 when the University of Tennessee entered into a land-tower lease with Richland Towers-Knoxville LLC that grants WUOT free tower space for the next 60 years.
Once the main transmitter is moved to the Richland tower, WUOT will re-install its original, refurbished transmitter at the WBIR-TV site, resulting in a full-power backup.
“Once all the pieces come together, WUOT will be able to provide our listeners with a reliable digital and analog signal for years to come,” Dean said.
Listener-supported WUOT 91.9 FM is a 100,000-watt station broadcasting from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Qualified by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, WUOT is a member of National Public Radio and a Public Radio International affiliate. WUOT’s primary format is classical and jazz music, news and public affairs. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, visit the station-s Web site at www.wuot.org.