© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Help BPR power the towers and boost digital capacity

Give to help fund upgrades to the essential infrastructure that delivers the news and music you count on and love.
BPR spends about $1.17 million each year to maintain its broadcast, operations and technology infrastructure.

On the inaugural Public Media Giving Days today, May 1, and tomorrow, May 2, BPR calls on community members to help boost its signals across the region and advance its digital capacity.

Whether you listen on air or online, the infrastructure that delivers BPR News and BPR Music to you involves significant costs. BPR’s Broadcast Technology, Engineering, and Operations department has a FY2023 budget of $1.17 million. This funding is crucial to delivering trusted news and information and timeless enriching music to you every day. In a region with limited internet access, BPR’s broadcasts provide 24/7 news and emergency alert services to more than 650,000 people.

As BPR looks ahead, we evaluated the station’s broadcast technology and identified several projects to help expand and improve its service to listeners in 14 counties and the Qualla Boundary.

Donate now and help upgrade the station’s transmitters and digital technology: the often overlooked but essential infrastructure that delivers the news and music you count on and love. This is equipment you don’t see or think about. But if it weren’t there, you wouldn’t hear the station’s familiar voices and you wouldn’t receive the reliable programs you value from BPR News and BPR Classic on air or online.

Help BPR boost the strength and reliability of its signals and, most importantly, reach more communities. This campaign builds upon the first steps of BPR’s Big Switch of October 2022, and continues BPR’s investment and expansion of service to Western North Carolina.

Power the Towers on Monday, May 1

Contribute today to fund improvements at three major BPR transmitter sites across WNC:

Rich Mountain, Brevard, broadcasting 101.5 FM BPR News and 90.5 BPR Classic: Help upgrade facilities to withstand weather extremes and install new audio synchronization equipment at this site, which currently serves 30,000 residents in Transylvania County and surrounding areas.
Project budget: $70,000.

Kings Mountain, Sylva, to broadcast 89.7 FM BPR News: Help construct a 200-watt broadcast at this new site, which will serve approximately 32,000 residents in Sylva, Dillsboro, Webster, and Cullowhee. This new frequency will improve BPR News reception along the Highway 74 and Highway 23 drive corridors. As part of this project, coverage areas will increase for two translators: 89.7 FM Clyde and,9.7 FM Cullowhee.
Project budget: $80,000.

High Top Mountain, Asheville, broadcasting 88.1 FM BPR News: Help upgrade the 15+ year-old transmitter and 30+ year-old backup transmitter for BPR’s primary broadcast frequency, accounting for more than half of the station’s listenership in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania Counties.
Project budget: $110,000

What is a transmitter?

BPR’s 20 FM transmitters receive content and broadcast on an antenna on a specific frequency that transmits to terrestrial radio receivers, such as your car radio. BPR operates 15 transmitter sites in Western North Carolina that broadcast 20 frequencies. BPR would be unable to broadcast an FM signal without these transmitters.

What will the transmitter upgrades involve?

BPR will replace the current transmitters with new energy-efficient ones that would reduce its environmental impact and electricity usage and increase operational reliability. The station will also save money on energy and maintenance costs. These upgrades will help BPR reach more people in more places, at a time when technology and the media landscape are rapidly changing.

Tech Tuesday on May 2

With funding for weather cameras, BPR can offer timely weather reports and scenic live video of high elevation weather systems.
With funding for weather cameras, BPR can offer timely weather reports and scenic live video of high elevation weather systems.

By giving now to fund these digital improvements, you will help BPR keep pace with the evolution of technology and improve digital security for bpr.org and BPR’s mobile app.

Planned upgrades to increase BPR’s digital capacity are:

Streaming Encoder Appliances: These will improve reliability and security of its web streams while reducing operational costs.
Project budget: $12,000

Server Virtualization: Build a virtual host hardware infrastructure and move all current physical service to a virtual environment, which will also improve website reliability and security.
Project budget: $30,000

Weather stations and live streaming cameras: Install weather stations and live streaming cameras at all 15 transmitter sites and downtown studios. These will provide more timely and accurate weather reports and live video of high elevation weather systems.
Project budget: $30,000.

Give today to power the future of Blue Ridge Public Radio for you and all the listeners in Western North Carolina.

Erin Adams served as BPR's first Director of Audience from August 2023 to March 2024.