Fans of WCQS in Brevard and the rest of Transylvania County won’t find the station at its regular place on the dial anymore. The local public-radio station specializing in classical, jazz and all those local and national NPR talk shows will now air on 91.9 FM in that area after a reassignment by the Federal Communications Commission.
The station is found at 88.1 FM in and around Asheville but uses a translator to reach farther flung areas. Listeners in Transylvania County tuned in to 91.5 FM, but a new, higher-power station in Greenville was recently assigned the same frequency, elbowing in on the public-radio station’s airwaves. Complaints that the new station was drowning out WCQS began rolling in immediately, according to WCQS General Manager Ed Subkis.
“It’s a religious station, so the programming is significantly different from WCQS,” Subkis said of the new neighbor on the dial.
Since radio stations have priority over translators, which are considered “secondary service,” by the FCC, WCQS had to make way. The station applied for a new frequency for the translator, and, Subkis says, the FCC moved quickly to reassign the station frequency 91.9 FM.
Subkis says the application went through in two weeks, a swift passage considering requests of the FCC can take months or years to be processed.
The switch was set to become effective on Jan. 17, but winter weather prevented access to the Brevard translator. The new frequency took over on Jan. 18 instead.
Listeners in and around Asheville will still find WCQS at 88.1 FM, and other translators throughout the region will remain unaffected. In all, WCQS uses nine translators to blanket Western North Carolina.