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WUCP begins broadcasting


The Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church has gotten into the broadcast business with WUCP-106.1 radio station thanks to Dave Garner and some devoted church members.

“I was looking for a way to bring the church’s message to more people, and the Lord just put it into my mind: bring it to the radio,” said Garner.

WUCP is a Christian radio station broadcasting “old time gospel” as well as contemporary Christian music and live, local Christian musicians.

Garner, who is a high school teacher with a background in computers, began his quest more than four years ago to start broadcasting from the church. He went to the Internet to research how to acquire a low powered, FM radio station. His search began on the Federal Communications Web site.

“It just so happened that the FCC was taking applications for low powered, FM radio stations,” He said. “The window of opportunity for the state of Tennessee application was one week.”

The FCC rules for low powered radio stations require that they are non-profit, service oriented type organizations.

Garner checked with the elders of the church and learned that they were willing and able financially to support and promote a radio station. He estimated that the start-up cost for equipment and licensing would total approximately $10,000.

The application of the radio station was approved; they were given a frequency, acquired their latitude and longitude and were put on a waiting list with 5,000 other applicants.

“All of my information went into a data base and just set for four years,” Garner said. “I was checking the status of our application every week or so, but then I cut back to checking just once a month.”

Garner had about given up on the radio station when he learned that existing broadcasters were trying to block any new stations from starting up, thus increasing the competition.

After finally receiving a letter of approval in October 2003, the radio station was up and running in February 2004.

“At first the station broadcast just during business hours but within a month or so we were on the air 24 hours a day,” Garner said.

WUCP received advice from a radio station in Loudon as well as a church member who is a professional disc jockey in Panama City, Fla.

The system runs automatically from a computer, reducing the need for a live broadcaster. Garner said that they broadcast the church services on Sunday morning as well as bible study on Wednesday evening.

He estimates the listenership capability to be approximately 30,000 people. WUCP covers all of Farragut, and sections of Lenior City, Friendsville, Maryville, Bluegrass, Greenback and Loudon.

The majority of listeners are adults, but the church allows the youth group to do its own broadcast with a live disc jockey and more teens have become familiar with the station. WUCP has an outreach program for the Hispanic community and broadcasts one night a week in Spanish, and has plans to broadcast the home football games at Farragut High School.

Garner said, “Our pastor Leonard Turner comes in many mornings to kick off the day with an inspirational message,” “We also have about six or eight church members who do live shows throughout the day.”

He added, “They are volunteers who believe as I do that this radio station is a terrific service to our community.”

For more information about WUCP-106.1, visit the Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church Web site at

www.unioncpchurch.com.

 

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