A new faith-based radio station may hit the airwaves in Terre Haute within the next three years.
The Federal Communications Commission on Feb. 23 granted a construction permit to Terre Haute Seventh-Day Adventist Church for a new station on Channel 298.
The station would operate on the frequency of 107.5 MHZ.
The FCC construction permit to the Terre Haute Seventh-Day Adventist gives the church three years — until Feb. 23, 2019 — to construct the proposed station.
“We plan to broadcast and we are going to broadcast 24/7,” said Herb Wrate, former chairman of the church’s radio committee which filed the FCC application in 2010. Wrate said three Seventh-Day Adventist churches — Lewis, Greencastle and Terre Haute — voted to support the station, with the Terre Haute church holding the FCC license.
Wrate said he did not have a time frame on when the new station would be operational.
“We are just getting started. We have Christian programming we can use and our programming so we can continually broadcast,” Wrate said.
Pastor Daniel McKibben of Terre Haute Seventh-Day Adventist Church could not be reached on Thursday for comment.
The new station will operate on the frequency of the radio station previously called WZZQ-FM, whose former owner, Michael S. Rice, was convicted in 1994 of 12 sex-related charges involving five children. He was incarcerated from September 1994 to December 1999.
Rice had three licensed radio stations in Terre Haute and two in Missouri. The FCC revoked Rice’s licenses in 2001, which included shutting down 107.5 FM. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld that action in 2003.
In 2004, the FCC converted the radio frequency from commercial broadcast to noncommercial education use. The FCC in 2010 opened up the frequency for allotment. Indiana State University, Lighthouse Mission Ministries Inc., Terre Haute Bible Baptist Church and Seventh-Day Adventist Church all filed applications for the noncommerical education frequency. Other agencies such as Illinois Bible Institute Inc. of Carlinville, Ill. and Indiana Educational Broadcast Corp of Marshall, Ind., also filed applications, but both later withdrew .
Indiana State University in 2011 withdrew its petition and in 2014 announced a partnership with WFYI Public Media, after ISU acquired WMHD, 90.7 FM, from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and was approved by the FCC. Indianapolis-based WFYI rebroadcasts its programming on WISU, 89.7 FM. The student-operated, music-based programming moved to 90.7 FM and changed its call letters to WZIS.
Three faith-based organizations continued their applications until a settlement agreement was reached and approved on Feb. 23 of this year. The agreement called for Light House Mission Ministries Inc. to dismiss its application, with the Seventh-Day Adventist reimbursing the mission up to $17,000 for expenses. Additionally, the Bible Baptist Church withdrew its application, under the agreement, getting reimbursement of expenses up to $5,000, according to FCC records.