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Hearing set for radio tower request in Antrim Township

October 01, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Rev. Larry Aikens of Emmanuel Baptist Temple in Hagerstown has found a new location for WHGT Christian Radio towers to propose to the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors, after the previous location was subject to "unfavorable" conditions and a myriad of public concerns.

"The supervisors in (Antrim) Township asked us to find a more remote location (that was) not as heavily populated," Aikens said.

The new location for the two radio towers is on part of a 140-acre farm on 8722 North Rabbit Road in Greencastle. Each tower will be 12 inches wide and 150 feet tall.

"The neighbors were not quite as close to this tower site as they were on Clayhill and Angle Roads," Aikens said.

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The radio station WHGT - "Where Hearts Get Transformed" - will broadcast a mix of Christian music and talk on 1590 AM.

"We are going to be an affiliate station with FBN - Fundamental Broadcasting Network - they have 41 stations and also satellite and short-wave radio," Aikens said. "A lot of our programming will be repeated from them."

In April, the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors approved the towers to be constructed near the intersection of Clayhill and Angle Roads in Antrim Township with a series of conditions, which included fencing and periods in which broadcasting would be prohibited. The supervisors also said they would hold $100,000 of the developer's money for the first year of operations.

"Conditions were very unfavorable to the station," Aikens said. "The township was trying to regulate radio frequency interference (and) we feel that was beyond the scope of their responsibilities."

During a radio conditional use hearing earlier this year, neighbors expressed concerns about the health effects of the radio towers and the interference with electronic devices. However, an expert was on hand to testify that the towers would pose no threat to human health.

Aikens said that in addition to the unfavorable conditions, the Emmanuel Baptist Temple decided against the first location for the towers because the neighbors did not want them there.

"We do want to be a good neighbor," Aikens said.

A radio conditional use hearing is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday during the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors' meeting.

"We're very optimistic about it," Aikens said. "We feel we have taken the steps that the supervisors have asked us to take and we're asking them to have more realistic regulations."

If the site is approved by the supervisors, the next step would be for the church to get the location approved by the Federal Communications Commission, which Aikens said could take four to five months.

Then the construction of the towers would take three to four months, Aikens said.

"We're looking at sometime next summer as best-case scenario to be on the air," he said.

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