At this time last year we were writing about the creation of a locally owned and operated terrestrial radio station that would go by the call letters WHEX. Though the station is not on the air yet and there have been some changes, organizers say the plan is still moving ahead and WHEX should be spinning the hits by spring of next year.
“We are currently in the process of selecting our studio location and finishing out the nuts and bolts of all the behind-the-scenes stuff before we go on air. Building our library, working out schedules, the build-out of the studio in the selected space. All of that jazz,” WHEX organizer Emily Hayes said. “Beginning Friday, we will be in the final 10 days of our online fundraiser. We will also be announcing our ‘team,’ if you will — the key players behind the scenes that are helping to get this vision to become reality.”
Hayes recently replaced Trey Lane in the role of organizer. She says he left the role in order to focus on other projects. Both Lane and Hayes worked together on the Mod Mobilian website for years.
In describing the station last year, Lane said the group behind it is called Radio Free Mauvilla and they had plans to begin broadcasting the low-power station in 2015. It will eventually be broadcast on 104.7 FM.
The declared focus of this “nonprofit, commercial-free radio station is to showcase a broad range of music that can’t be found elsewhere on local airwaves, as well as to keep the public informed on and engaged with the activities of local arts organizations and other nonprofits, at no charge to those organizations. WHEX aims to entertain, inspire and enrich listeners in the Mobile, Alabama, community through a mix of musical, cultural and educational programming, while providing a platform for collaborative problem-solving and community involvement.”
As Hayes indicated, the station is still looking for a physical address and getting its musical library together, but she is confident that even though broadcasting has taken longer than initially planned, it will be worth the wait.
Once up and running, one of the challenges WHEX faces as a low-power station is signal strength, but Lane says it should cover the majority of the Mobile area, including the Eastern Shore.
“That’s all still a bit up in the air, since there is a range in what we’re capable of doing, but I can say it looks as if the signal will at least spread from We-Mo to Fairhope, as I understand it,” he said.
Financing is, of course, always an issue for any media venture. Lane said previously they hoped to land several underwriters in the local business community, but may explore pledge drives and memberships. Currently an online fundraiser at GoFundMe.com has brought in $3,910 over the past five months, with a stated goal of $30,000 to cover start-up costs.
Herndon leaving P-R
After 23 years covering sports for the Press-Register/al.com, reporter Mike Herndon has announced he’s heading into the world of public relations.
Herndon announced last week via Facebook he’s taken a position working with former P-R reporter Rena Havner Phillips in the public relations department of the Mobile County Public School System.
“While I’ll miss telling the stories of the great athletes in the SEC and at South Alabama (and working with my colleagues at al.com), I’m excited about the opportunity to tell some new ones about the great things happening in our schools,” Herndon wrote.
Herndon has covered SEC sports and college football, as well as local sports for the paper since 1993, and his departure continues the stream of editorial employees who have either been laid off or resigned since the beginning of 2015. Herndon is one of the few “old timers” left.
So far this year, more than 20 editorial staffers have been fired from or quit the P-R.
Fairhope handbill legislation
Fairhope passed its own handbill legislation this week, but like Mobile’s it also appears it will have no effect on the Press-Register’s ability to throw its advertising circulars in citizens’ yards.
The ordinance appears to have been modeled in much the same fashion as Mobile’s, but gives newspapers, or in this case, pre-printed advertisements, an exemption from being considered litter. The issue became a hot button in Mobile, but city officials eventually backed down after legal threats from the Press-Register that it would sue if any ordinance was passed requiring it to have permission before throwing Southern Life or Yes! into yards.
In Fairhope the issue didn’t pick up the same steam and the P-R didn’t have a lawyer present as the ordinance was passed.