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WCPI returning to former glory
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Josh Hillis, left, and Richard Myers perform a final inspection of WCPI’s new broadcast antenna before it’s hoisted up the 180-foot steel tower.
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Communications Evolutions technician Kyle Craven makes ready for the installation of the new WCPI transmitting antenna on a 180-foot tower southeast of downtown McMinnville.

Warren County’s public radio station, WCPI 91.3, recovered its former reach into the region last week when technicians installed a new transmitter antenna, replacing one that was heavily damaged by a lightning strike last summer.

“We remained on the air as usual, but we were significantly crippled in the outer areas of our range because of the lightning damage,” said Dr. Norman Rone, president of the nonprofit Warren County Education Foundation, owner and operator of WCPI. “We’re delighted to be back to full strength as authorized by our FCC license.”

Radio broadcast antennas are custom engineered and built to serve specific stations, explained WCPI volunteer and station engineer Richard Myers, who supervised the installation on a 180-foot steel tower southeast of downtown McMinnville.

“These are not your ordinary, off-the-shelf products, so it takes a little time to get them designed and manufactured,” Myers said. The new WCPI antenna is built of stainless steel and copper to provide maximum technical performance and durability, he noted.

Recovery of the station’s full outreach comes just in time for WCPI’s live election coverage Tuesday evening.

“With the McMinnville city aldermanic elections and the two Tennessee House of Representatives seats, along with the seriously contested 4th Congressional District race, we’re preparing for one of the largest audiences in local radio history,” said Mary Cantrell, another WCPI volunteer and station manager.

“In the very busy political year of 2018, we have collaborated with the Southern Standard newspaper in producing three candidate forums and two election night broadcasts, and now we’re ready for the third and final election coverage,” Cantrell said. “In all of this, we are trying to fulfill our public service mission by promoting objective, unbiased voter education and providing a cost-free platform for candidates to voice their policy views and debate the important issues.”