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WUSF now says new classical music station may not debut for two more weeks



WSMR-ad.jpgEven as she admits that the new classical music radio station planned for the Tampa Bay area may debut a month later than originally planned, JoAnn Urofsky remains sure about one thing.

Urofsky, who serves as general manager of WUSF-FM 89.7 and the new classical music station WSMR-FM 89.1, does not regret trying to start both stations' new formats on the same day.

WSMR failed to debut Sept. 15, when WUSF jettisoned classical music for an all news/public affairs format in daytime. At first, on air hosts told fans who missed hearing classical music on WUSF that the problems would be resolved shortly and WSMR would begin broadcasting within days.

But now Urofsky says the delay could take another two weeks, as engineers struggle to isolate WSMR's signal from interfering with another service using the same broadcast tower, a "channel for first responders" that the general manager declined to name.

"We put a lot of time into planning this out, but there are some things we just couldn't know," she said. "Radio, as it turns out, is a pretty inexact science...You can't know how some things work until you turn (the transmitter) on."

At first, the culprit was paperwork -- a change at the new broadcast tower required a new permit from federal authorities, which took time. But when that approval came, testing revealed the interference problem, which Urofsky said could take weeks to resolve.

Since WUSF changed its format, the station has received about 700 calls, mostly from people concerned about the loss of classical music or wondering why they can't receive WSMR, Urofsky said. The station is available online and through WUSF's HD radio channel; click here and read to the bottom for links to the online audio and more information on WSMR.

"Most callers were understanding, they just wanted to make sure they weren't causing the problem," she added. "It's very frustrating for all of us." 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 1:35pm]


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