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Refuge 89.5 FM temporarily down

October 29, 2010
Jodelle Greiner — Staff Writer

FAIRMONT - Listeners of The Refuge 89.5 FM have been wondering what happened to their radio station.

The non-profit station has been off the air for a few weeks because the receiver is no longer functioning.

"I think the power supply unit went bad, burned out," said John Nielsen, general manager of the contemporary Christian station. "The equipment is pretty old. They stopped making the model in 1997, so they don't have the parts. We're left to purchase new equipment when they go down.

"The Refuge is a 100 percent listener-supported station," Nielsen said. "Listeners are key to keeping us on the air. Without listeners' support, we wouldn't be here."

Nielsen said they've heard from people who miss it.

"We do have people who like The Refuge and are missing it," he said. "Talked to several and gotten e-mails."

Nielsen has got some bad news for them.

"Until we get a receiver, we're off the air," he said.

A new receiver will cost between $1,800 and $2,000, said Dr. Jeff Fordice of Fairmont, adding that donations may be made out to Refuge Radio Fairmont Receiver Fund and sent to 6843 Washington Ave. S.; Edina, MN 55439.

"Once the money is raised, it can be literally a couple of days and we're back on the air," Nielsen said.

The Fairmont site is a translator station.

"The main station is in Duluth," Nielsen said, "that's where the programming originates."

The signal is sent to a satellite and the 37 translator stations like Fairmont pick it up with a satellite receiver and re-broadcast to their areas, Nielsen said. Most of the stations are in Minnesota, with some in northern Wisconsin, northern Iowa and South Dakota.

"It enables us to cover more territory and to broadcast to more people," Nielsen said.

He said an on-air fund drive is set for Nov. 22-23 and he wants everyone to listen.

"My prayer is that we'll be up and running (in Fairmont) before then," he said. "Think about supporting us financially and with your prayers. We need that just as much."



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