Two years after the tower was destroyed, local Christian radio station WOAK-FM has a new antenna – LaGrange Daily News
Two years after the tower was destroyed, local Christian radio station WOAK-FM has a new antenna
Posted at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022
As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. For Pastor Tim Tidwell of the Oakside Baptist Church, that saying couldn’t have been more true.
In late 2020, the 325-foot broadcast tower of the church’s radio station (WOAK-FM) was destroyed in a construction accident, forcing the church to find another way to deliver content to its devoted listeners. .
Now, after two years, the church finally has a new branch that allows it to reach listeners in LaGrange as well as Hogansville, West Point, Pine Mountain, Roanoke and Valley, Alabama.
“When we were temporarily down, we only entered the immediate LaGrange areas,” Tidwell said.
After the accident, the station filed a claim with the construction company’s insurer which ended with the construction company paying for most of the damage.
“It wasn’t enough to get us back to where we were,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell said the station told the insurance company it had a ride, broadcasting to its audience – all it wanted to do was start over. However, due to the depreciation of the equipment needed to operate, they were unable to secure enough money in the insurance settlement to rebuild the lost tower or facilities.
En route to finding a new place to run the station, WOAK ended up getting in touch with Coleman Vice, the owner of Eagle Radio Station in downtown LaGrange.
“As we were talking he agreed to help us out where we could buy a temporary antenna, put it on his tower, we’ll borrow a transmitter from someone and we can at least stand up temporarily,” Tidwell said. “We had to go through an attorney engineer and all FCC regulations to get permission to do this temporarily.”
He said the station worked with Vice to temporarily come back online. However, the station was off for about a month and lost a few listeners.
“For the past two years we’ve continued to broadcast, but that’s probably less than half of our typical audience that we had,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell said after dealing with the insurance company and seeing how much it cost to rebuild the station, he decided to lease space permanently on the downtown tower.
“To order our own transmitter and new permanent antenna, we had to go through an FCC license again to move our antenna,” Tidwell said.
To let people know that WOAK 90.9 is back, Tidwell said the station is working on a public relations campaign that will include social media and possibly shippers.
Since returning, the station has formed a new advisory board with about 15 people from the community involved with various churches and businesses who help advise, guide the station and provide for the community, according to Tidwell.
“We want it to be a community station that’s not just the Oakside Baptist Church station,” Tidwell said. “It’s a community station and always has been.”