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WVEW inches closer to getting back on the air

BRATTLEBORO—WVEW 107.7 FM, Brattleboro Community Radio, is moving closer to getting back on the air.

The studio of the low-power FM station was badly damaged in the April 17 fire at the Brooks House, and aside from an Internet-only stream on its website, the station has been off the air since then.

But with an insurance settlement reached, plans are in the works to return to over-the-air broadcasting this fall.

According to Lou Erlanger, president of Vermont Earth Works, the owners of the broadcast license for WVEW, the station suffered $63,000 in damage.

The insurance company covered about $50,000 of the damage.

“It would have been better if we had gotten more, but we’ll be okay,” Erlanger said at a station meeting on July 13.

The station’s antenna has been taken off the roof of the Brooks House and is in storage for now. WVEW is in talks with the Austine School to relocate the antenna there, but nothing is firm yet, said Erlanger.

While nearly all the station’s equipment was destroyed by the tens of thousands of gallons of water used to fight the fire, the station’s 100-watt transmitter did survive. Erlanger said it is being tested, and it appears that it can be put back into service.

The station has also found new studio space on the seventh floor of the Hooker-Dunham Building on Main Street, in the former office of lawyer Jim Maxwell.

Maxwell, who also serves as a member of the station’s board of directors, said that according to the rules of the Federal Communications Commission, WVEW has only one year to get back on the air or else it will have to forfeit its broadcast license.

While the station hopes that it can get back on the air on Sept. 1, to coincide with the fifth anniversary of WVEW’s broadcast debut in 2006, Erlanger admits it might take longer.

Those wishing to help the station with donations may use its PayPal link on its website, or send a check to WVEW, P.O. Box 653, Brattleboro, VT 05302.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #111 (Wednesday, July 27, 2011).

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