Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Brittany Davis-Green - firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured, from left, are CCC Chief of Staff Jerone Shaw; CCC Foundation Chairman Donald Green; CCC President Dr. Valmadge Towner; Senator Robert Jackson; and Senator Orlando Paden during a ceremonial signing hosted last week.
CLARKSDALE – Coahoma Community College Radio WCQC 91.3, a new 50,000-watt FM station, will soon be broadcasting from the campus of Coahoma Community College (CCC).
The station is a project of Quitman County Development Organization (QCDOO), Inc. in collaboration with CCC, the Mississippi Delta Council Farm Workers Opportunities and the non-profit CCC Foundation.
Representatives from each of the organizations met last week on CCC’s campus to host a ceremonial signing of the licensing agreement. While the station officially went live Nov. 15, programming remains under development and won’t begin for several more weeks.
“It’s a community effort because it’s a community radio station,” said Senator Robert Jackson (D-MS) who has helped lead efforts in launching the station. “We included Coahoma Community College in this project from the very beginning because we saw this as a unique teaching opportunity. It’s been a pleasure working with (CCC President) Dr. Towner on this project and we appreciate his dedication in bringing this project to a successful conclusion.”
While the project has been backed with community support, securing licensure from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the station has been no easy feat.
Jackson said they’ve been competing against a group based in Jonestown, MS for the same airspace during an extensive legal process that included two appeals over eight years.
In addition to licensing delays, another big challenge has been securing funding.
“We planned to do local fundraisers from the very beginning, but we knew to undertake this project we need to secure a much larger pot of money,” said Jackson.
Much of the estimated $200,000 needed for the project was secured through $150,000 appropriated by the Mississippi State Legislature. The Coahoma County Board of Supervisors also approved a $25,000 contribution with a $25,000 match from the community.
“We’ve gotten help from a lot of different groups such as Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) who was provided us with technical assistance, C Spire who has been working with us to provide tower space as well as local professional engineers and attorneys who have graciously worked with us on this project,” said Jackson.
The new, non-commercial educational station will be housed and operated in CCC’s Zee A. Barron Student Union. The coverage area includes Coahoma, Tunica, Quitman, Tallahatchie and Bolivar Counties with capabilities to expand much further.
Jackson said the station, whose goal is to build a better community through communication, will increase communications between counties and bridge the gap of the Mississippi River into Phillips and surrounding counties in Arkansas
“During the past 10 years, we have witnessed the demise and disappearance of local community radio stations,” Jackson said. “They have been replaced with syndicated content from outside the market or formulaic approaches that do not serve the interests of the community for which they hold a license.”
WCQC will offer direct media access to local area residents and increase culture and art awareness in the community. Programming will include mainly blues, gospel, jazz and country genres. Job opportunities, agriculture reports, weather updates and other emergency information will also be available to listeners.
In addition, the operation and management of the radio station will be integrated into CCC’s current Mass Communication associate degree program.
“50,000 watts can cover a large geographical area compared to other nearby community stations, so we’ll be able to really serve our community well,” said Jackson. “It’s a non-commercial station, which means we’re not in competition with existing stations. This just gives the audience another avenue to enjoy radio.”