1979 was an important year for Mid-Coast Radio. The original numbers of people who were involved in 1977 began to drop as the realization set in that there was actually no spot on the radio dial (frequency) available to put a new radio station.
The FCC allocates a small number of frequencies on the “non-commercial” end of the broadcast band – the left side, appropriately.
In 1979 the beneficent Federal Communications Commission changed its rules stating that small 10-watt stations would be encouraged to go up in power to serve more people, or move to the commercial end of the radio band. This gave Mid-coast a possible opening to find a frequency on the Kansas City dial.
It was discovered that there were two small stations which were broadcasting at only 10 watts of power (and not even on all-day sometimes) that were taking up space on the radio dial. One was KGSP at then what was called called Park College in Parkville, a suburb of Kansas City, and the other was KTSR at the headquarters of the Nazarene Church.
A ten-watt station serves only a very limited area, perhaps of a few blocks or a neighborhood only.
Mid-Coast people would have to begin negotiating with these stations to get them to move to find a spot on the dial – a seemingly impossible task.
Mid-Coast moved its office out of the Foolkiller Building temporarily into a bedroom at 3707 Penn. Mid-Coast’s first brochure was updated.
While planning on what to do next was going on, we received a letter from the IRS from a Mister Bosch sent to our former address. It notified us that we had not submitted any tax form for 1978. We were broke at this point, so the tongue-in-cheek letter below with the proper forms, were sent to them. We did not get a response, and they stopped bothering us for a while.
During the year 1979, the numbers of people involved with Mid-Coast dwindled down to about 3 people, Gil Werner, Tom Crane, and Barbara Blake. The future for putting a community radio station on the air seemed bleak. Then it was discovered that there was some hope from an unlikely source, the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The PTFP (Public Telecommunications Facilities Program) of the Department of Commerce (DOC), announced that from one of their branches the NTIA (National Telecommunications Information Agency),
that there would be a limited number of “planning grants” awarded which would enable organizations that were trying to put radio stations on the air that would serve a wide community, to hire someone to explore preparing an FCC application for a radio station.
The idea was since the space on the broadcasting band for non-commercial stations was so small, the DOC wanted to encourage groups that would serve a larger audience.
Gil Werner and Tom Crane discovered this almost too late, but managed to slap-together an ill-prepared application to the PTFP. Since the grants would be awarded in 1980, this put Mid-Coast’s foot in the door to reapply. If the application had not gotten in on time then there would have been no chance to apply for the next year.
The application got sent in in August. With help of a postal-meter and a friend in Washington who could get the document to the Department of Commerce in person, the day was saved.
The application was rejected with a note of encouragement to apply again. At this point Barbara Blake took the reins and prepared a decent application which was re-submitted to the PTFP. Letters of support were received from the community.
After news of getting the planning grant application in on time, people started returning to Mid-Coast again and events were planned.
With hope that the PTFP grant would be received, the search for a new office began, and several locations were checked. Ultimately, the office would be moved to 2800 McGee Trafficway – Barb Blake had some connections to the YMCA and was offered a good rental rate.
Fundraising began over the phone with an idea to raise money to support the office and pay Barbara to help prepare our documents for the PTFP and hopefully the FCC application.