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EMF Responds to WOKR Tower Radiation Claims

UTICA-ROME — Educational Media Foundation, the owner of WOKR 93.5 FM, has responded to recent reports questioning radiation levels from its broadcast site in the Utica suburb of Floyd.

The story started nearly two weeks ago, when the Observer-Dispatch reported on a family who lives near the tower site, who claims they started getting sick around mid-April, when WOKR moved from its former broadcast site in Remsen.  An independent engineering study showed high levels of radiation.

A couple days later, a local politician claimed he had brought the matter to the attention of the FCC, which in turn, said it would begin investigating the complaints.

Today, EMF issued the following statement:

EMF Issues Statement Regarding FCC Review of Floyd, NY Signal

Rocklin, Calif., June 22, 2009 – Educational Media Foundation (EMF) is a not-for-profit broadcaster of Christian music. It has stations and translators in communities across the country, including its station WOKR (FM) in upstate New York, which broadcasts gospel music programming (“God’s Country”) from a tower in Floyd. The tower is not owned by EMF, but instead by American Tower Corporation, which is the largest communications tower owner in the country. This tower hosts other communications antennas that are totally unrelated to EMF’s FM radio operation.

All FM radio station stations are licensed and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Earlier this year, the FCC licensed EMF to broadcast a low-power FM radio signal (3,000 watts), from the tower in Floyd. In approving the operation of WOKR from this tower, the FCC analyzed the RF radiation that would be produced at the site to ensure that it would not create a hazard to persons living, working or visiting areas near the tower site. The FCC’s approval of the application confirmed the analysis that the operations from that site would not be of concern under any applicable safety limits.

EMF constructed its station according to the specifications approved by the FCC. According to EMF’s own testing after its construction of WOKR, its Floyd-area signal is functioning properly and is meeting all FCC requirements, including those involving public safety. According to EMF’s testing, the RF radiation at the site is only a fraction of the FCC’s limits for public exposure.

EMF understands that one or more Floyd residents have asked the FCC to investigate concerns about its signal. EMF has already been in communication with the FCC about this issue, and is fully cooperating with the FCC in its review. EMF welcomes that investigation. In an abundance of caution, EMF is also seeking independent testing and will make the results public. EMF stands ready to make any adjustments that may be requested by the FCC, but, to date, there has been no reliable evidence that problems reported by individuals who live in close proximity to the broadcasting tower were or could have been caused by EMF radio signals.

EMF President Mike Novak emphasized that EMF always makes every effort to follow all FCC requirements for safe broadcasting and will continue to do so. He expressed concern for the health of the Floyd residents and said that he hopes they will soon discover the true cause of their problem.

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