We recently wrote about radio station KOWS and its move to a classroom at the United Methodist Church in Sebastopol ("Coming Home", Oct. 28).
The lease has been signed, and KOWS moved on to resolve another key piece of its relocation plan: a Sebastopol-based station antenna, now that the community radio station is leaving Occidental, where it utilized space for its current antenna up a hill outside of town on the Coleman Valley Road.
Station representatives appeared before the Sebastopol City Council to see if KOWS could lease city-owned land at the Pleasant Hill Reservoir and put a new antenna there. The council approved the plan Nov. 3.
"It was a unanimous decision by the council to go forward with our proposal into the permitting stage," says station programmer Arnold Levine. But the radio station had to assure the council that it wouldn't let anyone else's antennae onto the mast—a concern, says Levine, because of a previous and failed attempt by a cell-phone service provider to use the tower.
"It was not something we had considered," Levine says, "as it would cost us more to beef up the mast and the foundation, which we can barely afford now. We assured them it was just for us."
The KOWS crew is now asking for a set of three fee waivers from Sebastopol so it can fast-track the permitting process to set up the antenna, and make sure the new setup is aligned with Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requirements. "All the costs for the new mast, antenna, transmitter shed, wiring and cabling will be paid by KOWS," Levine says, and adds that the station will also boost its signal from 25 to 35–50 watts. —Tom Gogola