UPDATED: Palm Beach Gets 24/7 NPR Station: Finally, More Ira Glass, Less Beethoven

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Flickr user: tvol
More Ira Glass!
UPDATE: Yes, the new 101.9 FM signal is weak and not available everywhere in Palm Beach County. Unfortunately, there's not much the station can do about it. Read more after the jump.

Sept.14-- Static, fuzz, then the sweet sound of a geeky story about teenaged driving. Moments later, an even dorkier story about the Greek debt crisis. Ah, NPR, how I've missed you. 

Today West Palm Beach finally got the 24/7 NPR station it has long deserved. No more cursing the dial if you scramble into the car at 9:05 a.m. and get bombarded by some Mozart requiem. Now all you'll hear is the friendly, conversational chatter of Celeste Headlee or Steve Chiotakis dishing up the latest on the soaring unemployment rate or a random Virginia earthquake. 
 
After the nonprofit Classical South Florida bought WXEL-FM from Barry University in May, the new owners decided to split the news from the Beethoven and Brahms programming. Perhaps they finally noticed that Ira Glass fans do not necessarily love symphonies?

The new all-news channel is called 101.9 WPBI News, while 90.7 FM is still called Classical South Florida and plays all music. Now you and your Great-Aunt Gertrude are happy.

Critics may gripe because 101.9 broadcasts national and international news --  such as NPR's All Things Considered and Public Radio International's The World -- instead of local sports coverage and politics. But I'll take Kai Ryssdal over the Dwyer High lacrosse game any day.

Update Sept. 20: Since 101.9 FM went live last week, Classical South Florida has "been getting phone calls off the hook" about the weak signal, says the station's office manager, Scott Latta.

The new news station broadcasts from downtown West Palm Beach and has only a 250-watt signal, compared to the 30,000-watt signal for 90.7 FM. This means listeners anywhere north, west, and south of West Palm Beach may have trouble picking up the NPR news broadcasts (see comments below).

Unfortunately, Classical South Florida can't do much to fix the problem. Thanks to FCC regulations, the station is not allowed to make the signal stronger, Latta says. Apparently, there is another 101.9 FM station in a nearby county, and the public radio station here is not permitted to strengthen its signal and compete.

"We apologize for that," Latta says. "There's nothing really we can do."

Latta recommends upgrading to an HD radio and listening to the news on 90.7 HD2 or streaming 101.9 online.
 

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12 comments
Iyo
Iyo

I can't get a good signal in my car :(

Domer04
Domer04

I agree - the signal strength is terrible.  I used to be an avid listener of 90.7 during my commutes.  Once they switched to 101.9 and I can't tune them crystal clear during my ride, I've switched to other stations.  I'm still deciding which to settle on but I'm not going to listen to NPR in between static.  Sorry to see them mismanage the transition.

Mia Casa
Mia Casa

I'm in West Palm and get the signal fine in my home. Either on 90.7 - 2 (HD) or 101.9 fm. I do have an antenna wire on all of the radios I have tried.

NPR fan
NPR fan

The good news is that Palm Beach county now has the full slate of NPR programming.  The bad news is that you must have to live next door to the station to get the signal.  I can only get the 101.9 signal on my car radio on the open road.  Nothing in my home (in Palm Beach Gardens) picks it up.  Now I have no NPR at home.  Didn't anyone at the station bother to check whether their signal can travel more than about a dozen miles?

Myth Seizure
Myth Seizure

Defund NPR, PBS and CPB.  As soon as we get the Senate...GONE!

NPR listener
NPR listener

Did you hear how crappy the signal is on 101.9?   See where you can pick it up.  Not all over the county, I can assure you.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

More of that liberal jibber-jabber! 

Fucking Click-n-Clack are commie pinkos.

Chaz Stevens, Genius
Chaz Stevens, Genius

Perfect.

While you are at it, defund the fucking Library of Congress.  Who needs books?

Lisa Rab
Lisa Rab

I think the new station is supposed to broadcast from Boynton Beach to Juno, but you're right, there was a lot of static trying to pick it up on my ancient radio. However, I was blaming my ancient radio.

anonamoose
anonamoose

anymore news on hallandale chaz?

Mia Casa
Mia Casa

Get an HD radio. I found one at Radio Shack years ago. The signal comes in nice and clear on 90.7 - 2 and I've enjoyed it all day!

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