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updated: 12/5/2012 4:02 PM

Huntley Community Radio almost a reality ... on the radio

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Huntley Community Radio is a step closer to becoming a reality on your FM dial.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission announced it hopes to start taking applications for low-power radio service -- which includes HCR -- by next October.

"This is exciting," said Dorothy Litwin, who is in charge of HCR's programming development. "We know now what the application date is so we can begin working on it. The other way it helps us is hopefully letting people know what's happening and how it's going to affect our whole community. Hopefully, we'll be able to help the community communicate."

But before the FCC opens that low-power radio service window, FCC authorities need to get through 6,000 other applications from translator stations -- those stations that distribute programming rather than create it.

The last time the FCC opened a low-power radio service window was from 2000 to 2001. The window usually remains open for two weeks, according to an FCC official.

Right now, HCR broadcasts live on the Internet 24 hours a day and seven days a week. A license from the FCC would allow it to appear on a low-powered FM radio station that would likely reach people within 10 miles of Huntley.

The station, staffed by more than 50 volunteers, is headquartered at a building inside Deicke Park that belongs to the park district. It has been broadcasting since September, and if the group secures a license from the FCC, they would simultaneously broadcast over the radio and the Internet.

Before HCR applies, it intends to complete an engineering study, outline its broadcasting plans, show what it's already done and how it's doing it.

"I think that'll give us a leg up in getting the license," Litwin said.

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