The airwaves of the region just got a boost. Jeff Hallen, owner and manager of AgPro Equipment in Hettinger, recently purchased and is in the middle of revitalizing a stagnant FM station, hoping to give the area another option on their radio dial.
By COLE BENZ
The new station, dubbed 102.3 The Range, was operated from the area and previously just reached Hettinger and the near by communities. But in late August, Hallen gave it a boost with a brand new tower, and now reaches communities like Prairie City, S.D. and Dickinson, and as far west as Bowman and east to McIntosh, S.D.
“We’re just happy to be able to provide another option for music and radio selection for the area,” he said. “We’re not necessarily just local to Hettinger…we cover a pretty good range.”
Hallen said the process took longer than he thought, having to go through FCC and other governmental approvals. But other than the length, he said it was “pretty painless.”
He hired Molly Wolf as the station’s manager this past spring, and since then they’ve worked to build it up to its official launch this Friday.
“[We] kind of got the ball rolling, got kind of the music we wanted on air,” she said.
Halen and Wolf both said that the station will be mostly music oriented, with little talk in between tunes.
“Radio is a companion, where you know you always have it on when you’re in your car or working in the shop or doing the dishes,” Wolf said. Though the majority of the air time will be filled with songs, there is a morning show out of Nashville that they will air from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m., and then every hour there is a Fox News clip followed by a 30 second weather clip.
“It doesn’t take up a whole lot of air time, but you still get the information you needed to get through the day,” she said.
Both Hallen and Wolf said they don’t see a competition between The Range and the other area AM stations. They see it as an extra asset, AM stations are spots for ultra local content, like community activities and local school sports games and announcements, among other things. And Wolf reiterated that their primary focus is going to be the music.
“We want to keep it mostly music so it’s enjoyable to have on in the background,” she said.
The Range plans to air a variety of county music and classic hits. Wolf said they want people to know the songs they’re listening to.
“We kind of want to keep it towards the songs that no matter who turns on the radio you’ve at least heard that song before, and can recognize it,” she said.
To commemorate the new station, starting Friday, Sept. 15 listeners should pay attention to a specific sound effect. When that sound is played, the third caller will be entered into drawing for a trip for two to Las Vegas. The package includes airfare, lodging, and spending cash.
“That’s kind of our big launch thing to get people listening and involved,” she said. “That’s when most of our advertisements will start popping up.”
The drawing will be on Oct. 15. Wolf will broadcast in some form the drawing from her office in Hettinger.
Both Hallen and Wolf are excited for what the station can bring to the listeners, but also what it can do for the area businesses by giving them a wider audience.
“I’m just excited that our small towns will have access to a FM station, and that our businesses will,” she said. “Because I think it will be a great addition to what’s already here, but then to kind of expand their horizons.”
In addition to your radio, The Range can be heard online at 1023therange.com, or by downloading the Apple iOS or Android mobile app.