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Indian River State College Public Media Receives Grant to Expand Emergency Alert Broadcast Coverage


Fort Pierce - Wednesday October 18, 2023: Indian River State College (IRSC) Public Media is one of two public broadcasting entities in the country to receive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) earmarked for upgrading equipment and expanding broadcast coverage to make the stations compatible with a new enhanced emergency alert system.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting is the other entity to receive a grant in the Next Generation Warning System (NGWS) grant program, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The program prioritizes public media stations serving rural, Tribal, and underserved communities. IRSC Public Media will receive up to $165,680.

IRSC Public Media operates three public radio stations in the Treasure Coast region—WQCS 88.9 FM, the College’s flagship public radio station; WQCP 91.1 FM, which also serves the Treasure Coast; and WQJS 88.5 FM, which serves the southern shores of Okeechobee County from a tower in Clewiston. In November 2022, IRSC was awarded a construction permit for a new Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) station with the call letters WQCO 90.5 FM, authorized to broadcast with a power of 11,000 watts from a tower and transmitter on U.S. 98 northwest of the city of Okeechobee.

The goal is to extend IRSC Public Media’s service area to include the entire area around Lake Okeechobee, including the unserved Seminole Tribal community of Brighton Reservation, with a studio at IRSC’s Dixon-Hendry Campus in Okeechobee.

“This grant will allow over 40,000 people in the Okeechobee area the ability to access a brand-new local radio station at 90.5 FM,” said Chris Puorro, Associate Vice President and General Manager of

IRSC Public Media. “WQCO will keep them informed and updated during emergencies when other services are not accessible. Thank you to FEMA and the CPB for the opportunity to expand the coverage of IRSC Public Media.”

FEMA has awarded the Corporation for Public Broadcasting a total of $96 million in 2022 and 2023 to establish and implement the NGWS grant program. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a private, nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress in 1967 and is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting and helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide.