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From Left:Bish Krywko, President. Bruce Williams, Volunteer. Dave Sanocki, Station Manager

Daily Herald 1/23/2009

Story By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff

A low-wattage community radio station run by volunteers in Round Lake Heights has received a financial gift from a high-powered foundation that'll help keep it on the air.

WRLR-FM 98.3 received $15,000 from the Edith-Marie Appleton Foundation, which station representatives said will go toward a new professional sound board and construction of a second studio.

Chicago arts philanthropist Albert Goodman, who heads the Appleton Foundation, became aware of WRLR's equipment problems and authorized the contribution the station received Wednesday. Appleton, who died in 1999, was Goodman's mother.

WRLR President Bish Krywko said Friday that part of the $15,000 will go toward replacing a control board in the station's main studio, which shorted out roughly two weeks ago. He said the low-grade board was meant more for disc jockey gigs than a radio station.

About 40 local programs were canceled because of the mixing board's failure. WRLR ran automated programming until a staff member loaned his board to the station.

"It's usually not a good sign when you see smoke coming out of your equipment," said WRLR chief engineer Jeff Schmidt. 
Krywko said three bids will be solicited to obtain the best price for a new professional control board. He said the second studio will be an important use of the Appleton Foundation's $15,000 as well.

"It allows the station more flexibility as we grow and there are more shows," Krywko said.

Internal Revenue Service records show the Appleton Foundation had $12.1 million in net assets or fund balances as of July 2008. The organization's most recently reported contributions included $205,000 to Chicago's Goodman Theatre, $500,000 to Planned Parenthood in New York and $100,000 to Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho.

Krywko said the $15,000 from the Appleton Foundation was WRLR's second-largest gift. Goodman authorized the money after learning about WRLR's woes from his friend, Bruce Williams, a station volunteer.

Lakewood Homes provided $30,000 toward a transmitter and initial equipment expenses before WRLR began in September 2005 in a house formerly used as Round Lake Heights' village hall and police station, Krywko said.

With 96 watts of power, WRLR is on 24 hours a day with shows such as Lake County Political Hour and Calie Ramone's and CJ Monster's Radio Blast featuring punk and psychobilly music. WRLR's volunteers come from all walks of life, with its signal mainly covering the Round Lake area and neighboring villages.


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