MSPR Undergoes Upgrades and Provides Support to Area Businesses During Pandemic

Morehead State Public Radio (MSPR), 90.3 FM, WMKY, is currently being upgraded to replace outdated equipment that will allow it to continue preparing students for careers in broadcasting.

The station, located at Breckinridge Hall on the MSU campus, replaces two audio cards at its main control and production studios. The units are nearly twenty years old, around five years have passed due to the replacement, according to MSPR chief executive Paul Hitchcock. The current units are short of parts and not all buttons are operational. The main components to buy are the Wheatstone Audio consoles and the associated hardware and software. The total cost to replace the audio cards is just under $ 90,000. Hitchcock said the upgrades give students hands-on experience with the latest broadcast technology.

“Currently, over 15 students are directly involved with MSPR. Students use the equipment as announcers, producers, engineers and editors. They serve as local hosts for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World and The equipment to be purchased will be the latest and most advanced available for our needs at this time, ”said Hitchcock.

Upgrades will take place over the next six months, and Hitchcock has said there is no planned broadcast disruption. He added that listeners will benefit from the upgrade with improved sound quality.

“The equipment and associated hardware / software are specified to work together for seamless transitions, enhanced amplification, sound and delivery,” Hitchcock said.

The equipment was paid for through listeners’ contributions during the Spring 2020 fundraising and membership drive. Additional funds came from the US Rescue Plan Stabilization Grant (ARPS) the station received through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

The upgrade was supposed to be completed last year, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the pandemic may have delayed upgrades to MSPR’s equipment, it has not prevented the station from serving the community. MSPR offered a unique resource to local businesses during the peak of the pandemic, providing free in-kind advertising, called subscription, to businesses in the region. The station received a grant of $ 112,136.00 from the CPB through the 2020 CARES (Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security) Act and $ 197,602.00 from the CPB through the Rescue Plan Stabilization Grant. American (ARPS). MSPR also received a Community Service Grant (CSG) from CPB in October 2020.

“The decision was made not to actively fundraise in the fall of 2020. The search for underwriting sponsorships was also postponed due to the pandemic and the economy. Thus, WMKY had already received funding through the three grants (CSG, CARES, ARPS) and decided to ‘pay it forward’ by offering local businesses free subscription sponsorships, ”Hitchcock said, adding that the program had broadcast over 5,000 messages worth over $ 40,000 to help over 30 businesses in the community.

“As a public radio medium, we have a responsibility to serve the communities in our broadcast region. This service is provided in many forms, such as local news and locally hosted music programs, severe weather information, and community announcements. forward ‘was just another tool for MSPR to serve the community, its listeners and the businesses that rely on those listeners to patronize and support their business. ”

MSPR’s mission is to provide regional programming that is educational, informative and entertaining at the same time. MSPR offers regional news, public affairs, and documentary programming, with a variety of music shows consisting of classical, jazz, bluegrass, and Americana.

To learn more about MSPR, visit www.wmky.org, email Hitchcock at [email protected] or call 606-783-2001.

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Ethel Nester

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