Skokie Radio 1660 AM signs on

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Posted by on November 20, 2008 at 21:26:58:

Skokie radio now broadcasting

November 20, 2008


The Village of Skokie is now on the air. For the first time, Skokie has its own radio station at 1660 on the AM dial. Village trustees approved the new station earlier in the year, but it took a few months to set up, officials said. The station has been broadcasting since Oct. 20.

"Hundreds of communities across the country now operate their own emergency-advisory radio stations specifically designed to inform citizens of what to do during emergencies and other critical situations," said Skokie Management Analyst and Public Information Officer Natalie Marquez. "Transmitted over conventional AM radio channels, emergency-advisory radio stations give listeners repeated, up-to-the-minute reports, alerts and relevant instructions."

New AM radios in cars and other radios will be able to receive the frequency, officials said. The station's power is only 10 watts or less, but that should be strong enough to receive the signal throughout the Skokie area, officials said.

The station hits the air just before what is traditionally the worst season of weather during the year. That fits in with the primary use of the station, which is to inform the public of emergency conditions in the area and how to respond to them.

One anticipated use of the station is to inform residents when alternate-side parking goes into effect after 2 inches of snow or more falls to the ground. But other emergencies such as hazardous spills or the need to boil water if such an emergency were ever to occur would be reported over the radio station as well.

The village paid Information Station Specialists, Inc. $33,840 to establish the radio station, formally called WQIQ672, which is 1660 AM toward the end of the dial. The idea first came to village officials after they learned of a community in southern Louisiana that lost power for days. The municipality could not communicate to residents through traditional media such as the Internet and press releases.

"Fortunately, the community had a municipal-advisory radio station that allowed them to speak directly to citizens, instructing them on services such as where to seek assistance until power was returned," Marquez explained earlier this year.

In April the Federal Communications Commission accepted the village's application for the new station. Listeners will now hear the following message: "You're listening to WQIQ672 AM, 1660 Skokie" when they tune in. The village is publicizing the station through many forms of communication.

Village Manager Al Rigoni called the radio station "one of the best communications tools to come along ever."

The non-commercial radio station is monitored by the village and is on the air 24 hours a day seven days a week. When there are not emergency situations, the station will broadcast emergency preparedness information around the clock, officials said.

(Skokie Review)

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