By Janice Flegle, Instructor at American Public University
My husband is one of those people who gets really excited about almost everything. After almost 45 years of marriage his excitement is something that I have come to expect. So when he told me in November 2013 that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) had opened a two week window for applications for FM radio stations in underserved communities, I gave him my usual answer of “That’s great, honey.”
Larry began working in radio when he was 15 years old and has an undergraduate degree in broadcasting. I’m pretty sure that his EKG pattern looks like a digital signal. Radio is a part of his DNA.
So, I was not at all surprised when he pointed out that our weekend get-away house in the North Georgia Mountains is one of the underserved communities. It is in a beautiful area and we love spending time there. The FCC requires station owners to live within 20 miles of the radio station so technically we qualified to apply for the station because of the property that we owned.
Larry wanted to apply for a license but we had just built a beautiful retirement home which I love. I didn’t want to move to Blairsville full time. He assured me that we wouldn’t actually have to move. I knew that there would be thousands of applications for the few radio frequencies that were available and I figured we wouldn’t get the license anyway; so, I agreed to apply for the license.
I assumed that this would go the way of learning to play the banjo, geocaching, and restoring an antique car--he would be excited for a few weeks and then move on to his next great adventure. Follow through is usually not his strong suit.
In January 2014, the FCC had begun granting the new radio station licenses and my husband spent 20 hours of every day looking at the FCC website to see if our license was granted. We heard nothing for the first two weeks and he was becoming more anxious every day.
One afternoon he decided that he was not accomplishing much by hanging out on the FCC website so he decided to go get the car washed. A few minutes after he left I got a phone call which my caller ID said was Larry but the person on the other end sounded somewhat deranged. He kept saying over and over, “Our license was granted!” I thought, “Oh, my, what have I done?”
About a week later an entire radio station arrived at our home in very large boxes that camped out in the foyer for about a week. I finally told Larry that he had to move the boxes out of the foyer so now they are in the formal dining room. I did put my foot down on having the 100 foot tower come into the dining room! I was just informed that two antennas will be delivered next week.
We have also learned that we must not only own property but must actually live within 20 miles of the transmitter. So, in addition to everything else, we are in the process of selling one house, buying another one, renovating my lovely mountain get-away cottage into a radio station on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor. We will live in the apartment until we get the station on the air and can either find a house that we like or build a house.
Although this has been much more work for me than I had anticipated (I do have a way of getting pulled into his projects), I am beginning to share Larry’s excitement about WUCG, 93.1 on your FM dial, the voice of Blairsville. This small community has never had a radio station and they are almost as excited as Larry is about this new venture.
We plan to begin broadcasting on July 4. I had thought that we would retire next year and spend time relaxing and having fun. Instead we are starting a new business and moving to a new town. We both feel that this experience starting and managing a small business will greatly enhance the hands-on experience that we are able to bring to our students as we continue to teach full time at American Public University.
I hope that this is the last crazy thing I let my husband talk me into!
About the Author
Jan Flegle and her husband, Larry, live in the metropolitan Atlanta, GA area in Canton, GA. She worked in nursing and healthcare management for 20 years. For her midlife crisis she decided to change careers and got a BS degree in information systems from Kennesaw State University. She worked in healthcare information technology management for 12 years. In 2006 she decided it was time for another career change and went back to school and got an MBA in management and finance from Kaplan University. She has also done post graduate work in Information Technology at American Public University. Also at APU, she is an instructor for College 100. Jan and Larry and I have been married for 45 years and they have one daughter who also lives in Decatur, GA.
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