Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Solar Powered Radio (Part 2)


KEZW-AM has gone solar. There are only five solar powered radio station in the USA: 91.3 KIDE-FM, 101.9 KTAO-FM, 810 KGO-AM, 1380 WYSH-AM, and 100.1 KRUU-LP. To my knowledge none of them are exclusively solar. When it's overcast your array produces less power and you can be forced to draw off the grid when your storage batteries run low. But in sunny regions you can be net positive if you generally produce more electricity than you need. By that measure, WYSH is about 60% solar, KGO is 33% solar and KRUU is about 25% solar. The first was KTAO-FM, but they were the first in the world in 1987 so you can't compete with that. More here and here.

Radio Ink claimed in October of 2012 that 1430 KEZW was the largest solar-powered radio station in the United States. KTAO operates at 100k watts, and KEZW operates 10k daytime and powers down to 5k at night. So on the face of it that claim seems dubious, but KEZW is in Denver and KTAO is in the no man's land north of Santa Fe. So as a result KEZW has a 2 share or better in MSA #20, and KTAO is unrated even in Santa Fe. KGO is the largest station by that measure, but they are not primarily solar powered. So if you want to measure "largest" by an audience measure it's obvious who is going to win.

Entercom began working on the project in November of 2011 starting with an array of solar panels in Littleton, CO. the project now includes 40 solar panels. Like any solar project it reduces their dependency on the local power grid. Entercom started working on projects like this three years ago when they started their 1Thing environmental initiative. It's mission statement is "If everyone would do one thing to improve the environment every day, our world would be a better place to live in for generations to come. For years Entercom has embarked on a results orientated plan to become more energy efficient, promote environmental causes, and reduce our carbon footprint." It's hard to argue with that kind of positive thinking.

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