Radio listeners in the Chequamegon Bay region celebrated the September 2011 launch of their new station built with public and private support. The Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) station 90.9 FM replaces 102.9 FM and is about 100 times stronger than the previous signal.
“Listeners definitely noticed a change in the range and clarity of the signal,” says WPR Director Mike Crane. “The new 90.9 FM allows folks from Ashland to Madeline Island and throughout the bay region to enjoy our news, talk and entertainment programs like never before.”
A combination of private donations and a federal grant paid for the Ashland station. An early challenge from Mary Rice and the Mary H. Rice Foundation quickly built momentum for the fundraising effort. The foundation pledged to give up to $15,000 -- $1 for every $3 donated -- and add $5,000 if the total was pledged by Dec. 31, 2011. That goal was reached with a couple of weeks to spare thanks, in part, to a generous gift from the Otto Bremer Foundation.
“We called our effort the ‘Chequamegon Connection’ because of the important role public radio plays in connecting people across the region and the state," says Ashland resident Don Chase, volunteer chair of WPR's local fundraising effort. Expressing his gratitude for donors’ support, he says, “Making that connection, building our community was the key to our success. Every gift made a difference.”
Mike of WPR adds, “We couldn't have done it without the community. The response to this effort was really gratifying and we look forward to serving -- and being a part of -- this community for years to come.”
WUWS 90.9 FM carries WPR's Ideas Network, including Wisconsin-produced talk, news and entertainment programs with national and international programs. WPR is part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension’s public broadcasting division.
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