A new Cape Region radio station aims to provide education, music and local government programming to the Rehoboth-Lewes area.
East Sussex Public Broadcasting was created by Scott Standiford and John Murray, two veterans of the radio business who have retired to the Cape Region.
Standiford and Murray have filed with the Federal Communications Commission for a license to operate the station, which could be up and running by November. The station plans to broadcast news, music, educational programming and local meetings.
“We’re not a religious organization, and we have no political agenda other than to make people think about things,” Standiford said.
The nonprofit station plans to broadcast seven days a week on 94.1 FM. Standiford said the station is low power reaching as far as Georgetown. The transmitter would be on an existing tower near the Rehoboth Food Lion.
“It was the only tower that we could see that covered everything from the bottom of Dewey to the top of Lewes,” Standiford said.
He said fundraising would determine how large the operation is.
“If we don’t get much money, we’ll run it out of a closet somewhere,” Standiford said. “If we get the money we will open two studios and be able to do live music, talk and all the good things people want to hear around here.”
Standiford said the station would have a narrow focus on the Cape Region area. In addition to local news reports, he said the station would also deliver news from the Associated Press.
Murray said the station could be a boon for the local music scene, allowing musicians to come on the air, play their stuff and talk about it on the air.
“This is what we want to be. Something that’s right here, that’s local to the people who live here,” he said.
“When I was growing up, in my living room we had a big cathedral radio. I fell in love with it,” Standiford said. He got his first amateur license at 15 and worked as a volunteer for a Baltimore radio station at 20. He worked his way to WBAL in Baltimore as an engineer before moving to NBC and later to a job with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
After retiring, he moved to Rehoboth. The inspiration for East Sussex Public Broadcasting came partly out of boredom.
“Retirement is boredom,” Standiford said. “After about a year it’s like, ‘What am I going to do now?’”
Murray worked for Bell Atlantic, fixing tech problems for radio and TV stations. He later became interested in voice work.
“When I met Scott, he said that having an FM station here we wouldn’t repeat or duplicate anything that already exists. The idea of getting involved with that, doing the technical stuff, doing a little bit of talking really sounded like a lot of fun,” Murray said. “There’s really nothing greater than the theater of the mind. It doesn’t have to be the 50,000-watt monster station out of New York. It’s local.”
Standiford said their business plan is to get their FCC permit in April and then begin fundraising. He said he hopes to raise $50,000 by August, to order equipment and build the studios.
“There is a lot of support for this,” Murray said. “People want something different. We would like to have a different game in town. There are opportunities here for all kinds of programming.”
“We want this to be a success,” Standiford said. “We want this to add relevance and meaning.”