New Tampa Bay area classical music station WSMR-FM (89.1) waiting for FCC approval to debut
(UPDATE: WUSF Public Media has issued this press statement "As we reported last week, WUSF Public Media had to delay the launch of its new classical programming on WSMR 89.1 due to technical issues at the tower site. Some changes had to be made at the site that require approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The approval is expected by the end of this week. The public media organization will continue to update the media as more information becomes available.")
It was a surprising about-face for a radio station already trying hard not to anger listeners.
But it turns out, WUSF-FM's (89.7) inability to debut its new 24-hour classical music station on WSMR-FM (89.1) last Wednesday may have come down to about a 30-foot discrepancy and a little bit of paperwork.
WUSF was supposed to unveil the new station at the same time it began an all news/public affairs format during the daytime, shifting the classical music hosts and programs to the newly-purchased WSMR.
But the day before the switch, station officials announced WSMR would not go on the air as scheduled after all, further angering some classic music fans already upset that the format would be moving to a different station with different broadcast patterns.
Mike Burnham, WUSF's director of engineering, said the delay has come from waiting for the Federal Communications Commission to approve an alteration in the height of WSMR's broadcast tower, which is now about 30 feet higher than the original level approved by the agency.
Burnham said the new WSMR required moving the station's broadcast antenna to a new site; because of antennas already on the new tower, WSMR's equipment must be placed 30 feet higher than they originally planned, requiring an amended permit. He blamed the snafu on the owner of the tower, who he said didn't keep adequate track of all the antennas located there.
Burnham said the station has been waiting for approval from the FCC since last Tuesday, and hopes to receive the go ahead soon. Until then, classical music fans can only hear WSMR online or through HD Radio.