Tuesday, August 17, 2010

KOPE-FM

It seems the invisible forces that control the universe got wind of my blog entry titled My Musical Journey and decided to screw around with my head a little...

During my drive out to West Texas (there will be an upcoming entry about that) yesterday I decided to scan through the radio stations about when I reached Eldorado, Texas.  On the dial at 88.9 MHz appeared KOPE-FM.  Format:  Country music, but the older stuff mixed in with a bit of newer stuff.  You know, like the station that got me into country music to begin with.  Better still, no commercials.  Not really any talking to speak of, for that matter!  They announced the time, temperature, and call sign occasionally, but that was about it.  There was a small station promo I heard once.  No commercials...no blabbering DJ...and pretty good music.  Amazing.

I did some research hoping to find a web site where I could stream the station, or at the very least send a warm e-mail of thanks to the people who made this possible...but alas, there is no web site.  In fact...

This station is kind of wrapped in a bit of broadcast mystery.  According to radio-locator (http://www.radio-locator.com/) KOPE is owned by The Center For Education Nonprofit Corp..  I'm sure you, like me, are scratching your head trying to figure out just what in heck that company is.  Apparently it's a DBA for the legal firm Ashley & Laird in Irving, Texas.  So back to the information from radio-locator (which is really just the FCC info) the station was originally licensed as a Class A non-commercial FM station at 140 watts on December 3, 2009.  They were later granted a construction permit to take the station to a Class C3 station (still non-commercial) at 17 KW on May 19, 2010.  This update obviously happened because the station's coverage matches the 17 KW coverage map (according to how I received them in my car).  The mystery is why The Center For Education Nonprofit Corp. would decide to go through the very expensive process of acquiring a FM radio station to play uninterrupted good country music...a format typically reserved for commercial stations?  Did someone have a good deal of extra money laying around and decide to set-up a commercial-free country radio station that actually plays good music?  While I wish that were the case, I remember the old saying, "If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is."

To add to the mystery, I am impressed by their library of music.  A lot of what they played is hard to get nowadays, so they either got their library from some other defunct station or are somehow rebroadcasting programming from someone who does have that kind of library.  It isn't just Music Choice, that's for sure...

Now I need to figure out how I'm going to receive a 17 KW FM station that's about 170 miles away as the crow flies...and that is assuming that the station is not clobbered by some other local one on the same frequency.  Sigh...

What else is weird is why I am so excited about this, and it is probably another example of me showing my age.  Seriously, a radio station that only plays music is kind of like having a pile of MP3s in a portable player stuck on randomize.  Because I like the oldies, it isn't like I'm surprised by some new artist (although, I admit there is a lot of old stuff I haven't yet heard or forgot about that's like discovering a new song).  I guess the way I see it, it's like having an anonymous friend who wants to share their music collection with you.  You both bring something different to the table, some you both like, some is liked more by one than the other, and some falls into the "can we listen to something else?" category.  KOPE-FM mostly fell into the first two categories, making it a pleasure to just tune-in and leave it alone.

Thank you, whoever you are, for making a few hours of my drive yesterday more interesting.

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