I emailed Jeff White at WRMI Radio Miami International Thanksgiving morning (November 28, 2013) with a few questions regarding the new transmissions from the former Family Radio WYFR, Okeechobee, Florida site, which commence on December 1.
I gratefully thank Jeff for his reply below, and his kind permission to reproduce this interview of sorts.
TLK – Will WRMI have access to all of the former WYFR transmitters and antenna configurations?
JW – Yes, except transmitter #6 which was recently scrapped. But we will probably replace that one soon.
TLK – I visited the site way back in the early 1980’s. As I recall, the antenna farm is spread out over quite a bit of geography that mostly doubled as a cattle ranch. Who actually owns the land? Are you leasing the facilities, or actually the land owner now?
JW – A local farmer has always owned the land, and the lease has been transferred to us. It’s 664 acres — a square mile.
TLK- In recent years I’ve noticed some of the WYFR emissions have been inconsistent. Some transmitters have been slightly off-frequency and/or suffering sporadic audio quality issues. Are there any plans for upgrading, assuming any repairs are needed?
JW – It’s probably too early for me to answer that, but we’ll be watching these things closely.
TLK- Are any of the techs (I think there were maybe two?) still going to be employed there? I imagine it’s a bit of a haul for you from Miami to the site. How do you get any original production audio to the site now?
JW – There were 13 transmitter operators employed by Family Radio until recently. Two of them will be full time with us, and we will also hire some of the others part-time. The two full-timers have worked there for 28 and 30 years. I will probably be at the site 3 or 4 days a week for the foreseeable future.
TLK- What will become of the old 9955 transmitter and site in Miami, which sadly I never had a chance to visit, despite passing nearby on my way to the Keys or record shopping in Miami on occasion.
JW – I believe the old Wilkinson transmitter will be scrapped, except for tubes and parts that can be used in other transmitters. We plan to transfer an auxiliary 10-kw Collins transmitter up to Okeechobee. The site will probably be completely closed within the next month or so.
TLK – Do you have a transmission and programming schedule available prior to December 1? Any need for monitoring up this way [Clearwater, Florida] where some of the signals do of course mostly skip over?
JW – We now have a transmission schedule on thehttp://www.wrmi.net website (under Programming), as well as a program schedule for 9955 kHz. Monitoring observations would always be very welcome, although as you mentioned a lot of the signals will probably be skipping over you.
TLK – Any chance myself and a couple of fellow radio geeks could stop in sometime in the coming months for a tour/visit?
JW – You’re more than welcome to visit anytime. If you send me a message beforehand, I can let you know when I’ll be there.
TLK – Will there be any tests (open carrier, etc.) November 30, prior to the beginning of the transmissions from Okeechobee?
JW – There won’t be any more tests until we go on the air Saturday night. We did tests earlier this week. Everyone’s off until Saturday. There may be some hiccups during the first few days because these transmitters have been off the air for five months now
TLK – Thanks, and good luck with the “new” WRMI.
(Terry L Krueger, Clearwater FL, November 28, DX LISTENING DIGEST)