Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

Emory & Henry Launches 9,000 Watt Station Paid for by Tax Dollars

by Lewis Loflin

Update 2019: here is another example of government waste that has produced nothing in 10 years for the community. Why is a private college that pays zero taxes get government economic development grants in the poorest region in the country?

We already get NPR from ETSU in Johnson City. The picture above says it all.

Also see Why Emory & Henry College Sucks

(October 26, 2009) Somebody explain how $283,932 for a radio station in a private college is supposed to serve the average person? In a region wracked by double-digit poverty and unemployment and ranked in the bottom 10% of communities in America, how will this change anything? According to the Kids Count report (BHC 6-22-2003):

...two groups of children were left out of the boom times of the 1990s. The robust economy did little to help children in the inner cities and in rural communities like those of far Southwest Virginia, according to the report. A local political science professor believes he knows the reason for the discrepancy. "It all comes back to jobs," said Steve Fisher, director of the Appalachian Center for Community Services at Emory & Henry College. "With the decline of the coal industry, a lot of the good-paying jobs have disappeared."

A string of factory closings has affected the economy in counties along the Interstate 81 corridor, particularly Smyth County, Fisher said. And, many of the jobs that have replaced the ones in the coal mines and factories generally have been lower-paying and less likely to include benefits, he said. "Even two minimum-wage jobs together won't take a family above the poverty line...the numbers for Washington County (VA) are misleading. "There are pockets of wealth in Abingdon and Emory, but in general, it's a pretty poor county..."

To quote Rick Boucher:

I am pleased to return to Emory and Henry College today to mark a major milestone in our efforts to expand the public radio offerings in Southwest Virginia. Today, Emory and Henry's radio station, WEHC, will increase its power from a 500 watt station to a 9,000 watt station.

Last year the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U. S. Department of Commerce, awarded a grant of $187,932, to Emory and Henry College for the construction of radio facilities which will allow WEHC to expand its coverage area. With the benefit of the federal funds, the College has constructed a 197 foot tower and installed a new transmitter and antenna on the tower.

In addition to the federal funding, the Virginia Tobacco Commission has provided $93,000 to help Emory and Henry purchase studio equipment as well as to help provide training to students, faculty and community members in audio skills, which will prepare these individuals for work in radio and in the broader communications industry.

Beginning today, area listeners who enjoy commercial-free radio will have access to a wide variety of local programming and community information, in addition to the retransmission of Radio IQ through the College's arrangement with WVTF at Virginia Tech. These programs have been available to listeners within an eight mile radius of the College's 500 watt transmitter for the past two years...

I would like to recognize Teresa Keller, Director of the Communications Department, who has spearheaded this project from its inception. I have known Teresa for a number of years and have been impressed with her commitment to community service and quality higher education.

Teresa recognizes that a community is enriched by the sharing of ideas, by the local musical culture, and by the educational development of our future workforce. All of these pieces are brought together through WEHC. Many more people will have the opportunity to appreciate our rich cultural heritage as displayed on the radio station as a result of Teresa's hard work...


WEHC-FM is chartered as an independent enterprise of Emory & Henry College to fulfill the station's federal licensing requirements of serving the community's public interest, convenience, and necessity; to present high-quality programming as part of a forum for a wide range of issues and views; to present College community news, information, and sports; to provide entertainment; and to provide practical media experience for qualified students in preparation for careers in media industries, the arts, academia; and to foster active citizenship among students and community members.

WEHC is licensed to Emory & Henry College by the Federal Communications Commission. We are currently authorized to broadcast at 9,000 watts.

See Bottom 10% Again in 2008 for Tri-Cities VA/TN

To quote the Bristol Herald Courier (June 11, 2008),

A third of Bristol's residents need affordable housing, said Mayor Jim Rector, and "public affordable housing is the way to go. In private housing programs, the only goal is profit, while public programs do what is best for residents."

Back to History, Causes of Poverty in Southwest Virginia

To quote Lenowisco Broadband Study Warned against Call Centers (PDF file):

"The region has been replacing traditional (better paying) manufacturing jobs with (low paying subsidized) call center jobs, which provide limited advancement and work opportunities. Call centers represent the factory floor of the Knowledge Economy; they are an important part of a diversified economic development strategy, but the region must be careful not to rely too heavily on them, as the work is easily moved to other regions and/or other countries."

Lenowisco Broadband Study Warned against Call Centers (PDF file)

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