Two Harbors Community Radio Boosting Broadcast from Low-Power to Full-Power

Back in March, the FCC granted Two Harbors Community Radio a noncommercial educational full-power radio station construction permit.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.- One of the only local radio stations on the North Shore, KTWH in Two Harbors, just got an FCC permit to boost their broadcasting power to bring local programs to more spots on the north shore.

Soon the little radio studio in the harbor landing building broadcasting to just the immediate Two Harbors area will now expand its reach to North Shore towns like Beaver Bay and Silver Bay.

“It’s a big deal and it actually happened pretty quickly,” said Michelle Miller, Thursday Morning Show Host.

Back in March, the FCC granted Two Harbors Community Radio a noncommercial educational full-power radio station construction permit.

“We were in fear of being knocked off the dial because of our status,” Miller said. “So for us to be able to stay on the dial, we needed to apply for an upgrade for the full power.”

This means upping their low-power frequency of 100 watts to 20 thousand watts.

“And we currently have about a seven to ten-mile radius and this will almost triple our expansion into the North Shore,” she said.

“The location we have picked out is on a tower that will allow us to get several hundred feet off the ground and allocate an elevation much higher, probably 500 feet higher than we currently are. In radio, height makes all the difference,” said Leo Babeu, Chair of the Two Harbors Community Radio Board of Directors.

KTWH has been broadcasting community radio since 2012 with roughly 100 volunteers bringing all kinds of programming to the airwaves.

“Nordic, Roots Jazz, Bluegrass, World music,” Miller said, “We also do educational programs, environmental programs. We have a cooking Polka show. We have Old Time Radio Theater, energy talks.”

Leo Babeu hosts a variety show Wednesday mornings called Across Divides.

“Which features everything from community events in my pretty eclectic wide-ranging music taste, at one time I interviewed the former governor of the state versus another time, I’m interviewing somebody who’s a scientist who works in identifying problems with stormwater,” said Babeu.

He looks forward to adding more programs to their grid with the upgrade.

“We’re bringing the North Shore Storm, hockey games, hopefully again, to the airwaves,” he said, “And we’ll have a lot of fans in the Silver Bay Area that want to catch that.”

But as a nonprofit expansion is not cheap. “So those kinds of upgrades take funding,” said Miller.

“So we are really in a push to raise those funds so that we are able to do those upgrades because the FCC gave us 36 months to do this,” she said.

Keeping the station around at higher power means it can continue providing round-the-clock information to listeners. “For 15 years, they’ve been saying that the end of radio is coming, but instead we find people saying we’re so glad you’re there,” said Babeu.

And that information becomes even more vital when it comes to extreme weather on the North Shore. “If there’s a school closure, if anything of an emergency, people will reach out to us or those organizations so that we can get it out over the airwaves instantly,” said Miller.

Above all, they hope to invite more community members as young as high school-aged to bring their local voices to the airwaves.

“Yeah, it’s pretty important because some people have a lot to say or a lot of things to bring to their fellow citizens that they’re not sure — they have the idea, but they’re not sure how they would ever put it together to work in media,” said Babeu.

“There’s certainly technical terminology, but it’s not rocket science. If we can do it, they can do it is the way we look at it,” he said.

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