Salt Lake’s KUER has been Pocatello’s NPR affiliate for years now, but late last week the signal suddenly went dead. Morning commuters were left without Diane Rehm! News junkies no longer had All Things Considered!
But don’t worry, NPR fans, the dead signal is only temporary, and KUER engineer Lewis Downey is hopeful that it will be back sometime this week. So what exactly went wrong?
According to Downey, the problem wasn’t with funding or broken equipment, but with a building. Until last week, KUER had housed their low-power FM repeater, which receives an FM signal and moves it to a different frequency, and its corresponding antenna, in a building on Kinport Peak.
Although they were allowed in the building, they never officially leased the space, said Downey. When state officials told the owners of that and other surrounding buildings to clean up the place, KUER essentially lost their home in Pocatello.
“Basically, the state of Idaho had to do what states have to do and we got caught between a rock and a hard spot,” said Downey. After being kicked out, a local engineer graciously agreed to help find a new spot for the equipment. According to Downey, it will be set up soon this week, and hopefully bring KUER back to Pocatello.
If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean the station is done in town. The SLC station is committed to sending a signal to Pocatello, said Downey: “We’ll be back, and the support from the Pocatello area has been stellar.”
Don’t worry, everybody, Diane Rehm isn’t going anywhere (thank God).