(Posted May 12, 2020)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. — A collaborative project between Juniata College, Huntingdon Borough, and the Huntingdon County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) will provide and disseminate vital public health information via the College’s radio station WKVR. By tuning in to 92.3 FM, listeners will have access to county-specific COVID-19 alerts.  “We have a longstanding relationship with Huntingdon County EMA and Huntingdon Borough and had been communicating with them since February as we planned, prepared, and responded to COVID-19,” said Jesse Leonard, assistant dean of students. “We had already identified our gymnasium space as a potential resource for the county’s response plan, and through these discussions the idea of use of the radio station came up.” Communication, especially for those without or with limited access to the internet, is more important than ever. Recorded radio broadcasts will ensure equal access to information.  “Having a local radio broadcast source to share community and county-wide information during this crisis is a tremendous asset,” said Joe Thompson, Huntingdon County EMA director. “We appreciate the cooperation of Juniata College to make this public information project happen.” Huntingdon Borough Manager Chris Stevens shared his agreement. “This gives us an additional opportunity to provide borough announcements and other information so that more people can hear things we’re trying to spread the word about, in addition to print notices and posts on the borough website and Facebook page,” Stevens said.  In addition to distilling the national and state guidelines issued daily, coordination between the borough and county EMA will include updates on transitioning into the next phases toward reopening.  The project is being coordinated by two long-time local radio announcers, Thompson and Jeff Speck. Speck will be serving as the program director, of sorts, of the operation.  Thompson will help provide information to be used and as time permits will record some of the material. It’s actually a return to their roots opportunity for both Thompson and Speck. When they were teenagers, they “hung out” at the original Juniata College radio station, WJC AM/FM, and would occasionally fill-in on the air as DJ’s. For both of them, it was their first radio experience while they were still in high school. “The College is thankful for these partnerships and welcomes the opportunity for our resources, when available, to be used in support of the broader community,” Leonard said. “This has been a long and daunting emergency to manage and we are grateful for the work our partners have been doing.” WKVR has about a five-mile over-the-air coverage area.  Anyone or any groups who have an announcement they would like aired should email it to Speck at speckspots@gmail.com.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.