Local radio station WETS-FM, East Tennessee State University’s National Public Radio affiliate, is raising funds to replace its tower atop Holston Mountain.

A benefactor, who asked to remain anonymous, has offered to match up to $100,000 raised during the station’s fall fundraiser, which ends Friday, according to an ETSU press release. All funds will go toward replacing the current aging radio tower, located on Panhandle Road on Holston Mountain.

“Without a tower, you don’t have a radio signal,” WETS station manager Wayne Winkler said in the release. “We’ve been using the same tower since 1973 before the station went on the air. Wind, snow and ice have taken a toll on it. There are cracks in the support legs of the tower. We have welded splints onto the legs, and they might hold, or they might not. Whenever there’s a big storm or a lot of wind on Holston Mountain, we hold our breaths and keep our fingers crossed.”

Most of the money typically raised through the biannual fundraiser goes to programming, rather than a tower, according to Karen Sullivan, director of development at WETS.

The cost of a new tower, and its installation on Holston Mountain, is estimated at $200,000, the release states.

“This generous offer of $100,000 in matching money gives us a strong foundation in our drive to replace the WETS-FM tower,” Sullivan said. “Some pledges have already been made for the tower replacement, and we are absolutely reaching out to our on-air listeners to help us reach our goal.”

WETS-FM began asking for online contributions last Wednesday. Contributions can be made online at www.wets.org or by phone at 888-895-9387(WETS). 

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