Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Money Talks

 Rotary donates funding for 88.1 upgrades

Plymouth Canton school radio station 88.1 is $200,000 closer to needed upgrades at the 50-year-old student operated facility.

During a special meeting of members of the Plymouth Noon Rotary Club at Salem High School, club officers announced a $200,000 grant to the student station to fund significant improvements to broadcast equipment and studio space. The funds will be matched through station fund raising and used to complete a studio expansion, that will also provide for a video element and podcasting.

The student station has operated from the same space for half a century, noted Station Manager Bill Keith, and the equipment is in need of significant upgrades. The station launched an amplification capital campaign on May 10 to raise funds to convert a classroom into a series of editing, recording, and interview studios, a staff room, and storage space. The $517,000 estimate for the capital campaign includes architecture fees, construction costs, HVAC considerations, sound attenuation measures, enhanced lighting, security considerations, ADA accessibility, video 

capabilities, and significant equipment purchases and upgrades resulting in four additional studios, Keith explained.

The grant from the Rotary Foundation will make these goals more attainable, noted Rotary member and Superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Schools Monica Merritt as she thanked the club members for the donation during the special luncheon.

“We often don’t know the difference we make in people’s lives,” she told the crowded meeting room “This grant will help us get our students prepared for the world. You’ll continue to hear your input,” she said.

The planned upgrades will allow for significantly more student participation and more than double the current studio space, allowing for more on-air content, recorded news/programming, and edited news podcasts, Keith said. These upgrades will put the broadcasting 

environment at 88.1 the Park on par with professional studio space—helping to maintain their award-winning broadcasting quality, while 

creating a more professional experience for students and studio guests, he added.

Rotary President Chris Porman said the grant, announced by Warren Mussen, president of the Rotary Foundation, was a reflection of the club members’ values.

“This was important to our club belief in the power of education and communication and ultimately 
community building,” Porman said.

The grant was awarded, in part, in recognition of the centennial anniversary of the Plymouth Rotary Club, originally founded in 1924. The student station must raise another $200,000 in order to receive the grant before Dec. 31, 2026.