KRZA radio station still raising funds to get on air in Taos

Photo courtesy KRZA Community Radio Facebook page

Though the radio station managed to start broadcasting in the immediate vicinity of Alamosa, Colorado, with a low-power transmitter, it is still raising money to replace its main transmitter on San Antonio Mountain and get the station back into Northern New Mexico.

The crackling sounds coming out of the radio when it's turned to 88.7 FM has now stretched on for more than half a year.

The community radio station based in Alamosa, Colorado, KRZA went off the airwaves in Taos in September.

Though the radio station managed to start broadcasting in the immediate vicinity of the station with a low-power transmitter, it is still raising money to replace its main transmitter on San Antonio Mountain and get the station back into Northern New Mexico.

"KRZA is a huge part of the community and it would be devastating to lose it," said General Manager Gerald Rodriguez in a recent post to the station's website. "The station needs help more than ever to finish this project and guarantee the longevity of KRZA for at least another decade. "

KRZA is loved for its mix of Norteño music, local news from rural New Mexico and Colorado, and delightful DJ banter.

The total cost of the project, including equipment and labor, is $42,000. The radio station is asking for donations to help cover those expenses.

The old transmitter on the top of San Antonio Mountain was installed in 2002, exceeding the usual shelf life by five years.

Throughout last summer, Rodriguez tried to make repairs to the transmitter, but it meant six-hour hikes with a bag of tools and reading error codes that just kept coming.

"Now it is time to replace the entire machine with a new model," he said.

"People from Taos and surrounding areas are very disappointed with losing the signal. Some have called and said they will continue to support the station to keep the project going and others have pulled their support until they can hear the station on the radio," Rodriguez said in an email to The Taos News.

"We would really like to be finished and back on the air at full power before the Spring Fund Drive starting April 6, 2019. We will have to work against the snow on the mountain where the transmitter is located as well as to continue raising funds to pay for the installation and parts. That is why donations are vital right now," Rodriguez said.

"The biggest things that we have done since going off the air is building a low power transmitter on the roof of the station to broadcast in the Valley for now and for future outages. We have never had a back up system like this in place in more than 30 years," he said.

"We have added and cleaned up our program line up. We have added programs such as NPR's Planet Money, How I Built This, All Songs Considered, Alt Latino, Weekend All Things Considered, and the Latin Alternative. We have also added music shows such as Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, DIG music from the 60's and 70's, The Stone Age, and Old Time Radio Theatre," he said.

"We have also acquired city historical designation on our building. We are currently working on adding a second translator that will broadcast in another location of our listening area that has weaker signal."

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