WOJB Gets Some Much Needed Upgrades from CARES Act Funds
By Joe Morey
As part of the CARES Act funding the Tribe received, WOJB 88.9 FM radio station was allotted nearly $250,000 for upgrades and improvements. The station received the funding because of its valuable communications component during the pandemic and would be necessary should the Tribe need to get out quick urgent messages to the community relating to potential emergency situations.
WOJB is a public radio station owned and operated by the Tribe currently managed by Mark Lundeen. He shared with LCO News some information relating to what the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) designated as in need of upgrades.
TGB spent $155,880 on tower and antenna repair, $7,150 on HVAC for the transmitter site and $4,000 on engineering, all three expenses of which are directly related to the transmitter building.
“The tribe purchased a new transmitter about a year ago, replacing the older, tube technology transmitter that had stopped working after years of repairs and efforts to keep it running,” explained Lundeen. The antenna and transmission line (a 400-foot copper line that connects the transmitter to the antenna) was originally installed 38 years ago.
“Over time both the line and antenna developed leaks and other issues that required a complete replacement,” Lundeen noted. “Now the transmission signal can travel out of the transmitter, up the tower, and into the antenna unrestricted and tuned precisely to 88.9 FM.”
Lundeen added the heating and cooling system at the transmitter building had also gone bad and needed to be replaced.
A new generator was purchased for WOJB at a cost of $3,000. Lundeen said the studio building was without a backup generator for the past four years.
“So when the power went out, the studio stopped working, but the transmitter continued to run, but there was no signal from the studio reaching,” explained Lundeen.
Since Covid-19 began, most of the station’s volunteers have been prevented from coming into the studio building to do their music programs, so, Lundeen said they decided to bring the studio to them, in their homes.
The station also received new portable remote systems at a cost of $15,935.
“We had one remote system that Jeffery Jones has been using since COVID forced him to stay home, and it has been working quite well for the ‘Afternoon’ show for many months,” Lundeen went on. “So we thought we would duplicate the system Jeff was using and make them available to our volunteers. We have four systems available for volunteers to use. The only requirement is to have a wired high speed internet connection.”
The TGB also purchased laptops for $3,200 to aid those volunteers working at home.
“They needed to access the studio equipment and files from home. Most employees did not have secure computer systems at home, so we were able to provide them with laptops,” Lundeen stated.
Lundeed continued, “Our existing equipment was not accessible from a home location or any remote location. Finally, we are installing a new soundboard and automation system that can be operated from anywhere and they are all web-based operating systems.”
The cost for that equipment is $28,205 for a new sound board, cloud automation at $17,000 and for $9,600 for the engineering.