The Isanti County Board on June 4 approved Mora-based Lakes Media Foundation to dismantle and remove the inoperative communications tower on county property by the East Central Regional Library in Cambridge.
Keith Thelen, of Kanabec Systems, said the action will allow Lakes Media to move forward with constructing a new noncommercial radio station for the many area residents who are going with it. Removing the tower, which has not been used in at least 25 years, also will keep the community safe from it potentially collapsing or being climbed on by the public, he added.
Lakes Media wants the tower materials, since it does not have the finances to erect a new tower at its chosen location. Sun Energy Systems of Mora, which will oversee the project, will do the job with respect to the library’s hours and any restrictions imposed by the city. The concrete platform is anticipated to remain, Thelen explained.
A not-for-profit organization, Lakes Media began in 2006 as an informal, unincorporated organization, with the purpose of acquiring an FM broadcast license to serve the Mora area. The foundation’s application was reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission in October 2013, and its FM license was granted in January.
As licensed, the station will be able to operate with 77 watts of power, from a maximum of 150 feet above the ground, at a site just south of Mora. Such a facility would provide a good signal in Mora, Braham, Ogilvie and surrounding areas, as well as fringe coverage in nearby Pine City and Cambridge, Thelen noted.
The station’s programming will be local, timely and noncommercial. Information, weather and entertainment relevant to the local area will be aired around the clock.
“Our goal had been to have the station built and operational by August 2014. However, with the departure of Kanabec County’s only other local radio station from the airwaves, demand for this new station has increased dramatically,” Thelen said.