WYZR applies for signal increase

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Pittsburgh Public Media has filed an application with the FCC for a signal increase for WYZR-FM (88.1), the jazz station it launched in August.

Pittsburgh Public Media is requesting an increase to 10,000 watts. The station currently broadcasts at 1,100 watts.

The station's transmitter is in Bethany, W.Va., and its signal covers areas south and west of the city and some areas north of Pittsburgh. The increase would give WYZR listeners in those areas better and more consistent reception.

The proposed signal increase does not mean that city residents will be able to get the station yet, said Pittsburgh Public Media's board president Chuck Leavens. That will involve other steps and strategies down the road.

"We have more stages to go through. This is just a step. It has to be done in stages in order to be financially viable," he said. Mr. Leavens estimates the cost of the signal upgrade at about $100,000.

Reception is inconsistent. Some listeners in the coverage area south of the city can pick it up in their cars but not in their houses. A stronger signal will address those inconsistencies, Mr. Leavens said.

FCC approval could take a few months. If and when the application is approved, Pittsburgh Public Media will have three years to raise the funds and add the new equipment -- a transmitter and antenna -- required.

Adrian McCoy: amccoy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1865.

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