KMAB radio station launched
Cutline: John Curnutt and Dan Toms stand by the transmitter for the Low Power FM station, KMAB-LP, licensed by Gibson Adventist School, and housed in, and on, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, on Buff Street.
By John Curnutt
There's a new sound in the air, in Madras, Metolius, Culver and The Plains, KMAB-LPFM (Low Power FM radio) at 99.3 on the FM radio dial.
The establishment of the radio station could not have happened without a whole series of people and events, that brought it about.
Art Bigelow, a long-time radio aficionado, from Prineville, saw the opportunity afforded by the FCC's LPFM (Low-Power FM) call for applications. He prepared the application for the Gibson School, the kindergarten through eighth grade church-school operated by the Madras Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
The Madras Seventh-Day-Adventist church board decided to go ahead with establishing and operating a radio station. Members became entranced with the notion, raised the funds, and, fortunately, Dan Toms, from Spokane, showed up to do the major part of putting the station together.
Dan, Buz Flegel and his boys, Austin, Bryan and Collin and John Curnutt erected the transmission tower, atop the church.
Britt Spaulding saw to it that the studio had a computer capable of running the automation necessary for the operation of the station.
This specialized broadcast software was purchased from Ron Erickson, Broadcast Consulting Engineer for KHJA-LP, the other low-power FM station licensed to Madras.
Dan and Walter Cox, a broadcast engineer from College Place, Wash., spent a very long day doing the heavy sledding of soldering, connecting and testing all the different pieces, from the satellite receiver, mixing board, EAS (Emergency Alert System), microphone, and transmitter-to-tower. Dan Toms spent a lot of time tweaking the 10-foot satellite, to get the strongest signal possible.
KMAB-LPFM broadcasts a real-time satellite signal from LifeTalk Radio, a source of Christian and lifestyle education programming, which includes sermons, panel discussions, talk shows, Christian music and dramatizations.
Programs specifically created for children include Bible Explorer's Club, Children's Bible Journey, Your Story Hour, We Kids, and LifeTalk Children's Music.
Adult education programs include LifeQuest, Vibrant Life, The Voice of Prophecy, Family Life Today, Bible Answers Live and Money Watch.
The 100-watt KMAB signal can be heard from Juniper Butte to the northern edge of Agency Plains, where U.S. Hwy 26 drops down toward Warm Springs, and from Metolius and Culver, and can even be heard in Prineville. Low Power FM stations have an effective range of about six or seven miles, depending on the topography.