The April 4th unanimous vote by the Urbana City Council approving the plan for construction of a new 100 ft radio tower for WRFU was a victory for a multi-year community effort. That evening, WRFU volunteers, friends and supporters filled the City chambers and spoke out for the tower. People in the audience and in the Council were excited by an idea we at WRFU and volunteers at the Independent Media Center had been working on for years: to raise our antenna from 65 feet in the air to 100 and allow our signal to reach farther into Urbana and Champaign. This new infrastructure will be an asset for our community, both maximizing the reach of our signal and attracting possible partners for co-location on the tower, like wireless Internet projects already in the works in town.
For now, however, our signal, will continue to originate from the 65 ft tower that sits atop the Independent Media Center building. The approval of our permit was an important step, but it’s not the end. An additional challenge lies in meeting our funding goals. We are continuing efforts to raise close to $5,000 for construction. WRFU also requires the approval of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to start the groundbreaking. A letter of support sent by city council member, Eric Jakobsson helps put the historical question into context.
A LETTER FROM ERIC JAKOBSSON, 2ND WARD, URBANA CITY COUNCIL
“In dealing with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, perhaps some points about the history of the Eiffel Tower in Paris are instructive:
Today, the Eiffel Tower is the most distinctive feature of the Paris skyline, an iconic image that nobody would dream of tearing down. It IS Paris, to the same degree that Notre Dame and the Louvre are Paris. It was built for a worldwide exposition in 1889.
Its building aroused ﬁerce opposition among Paris’ cultural elite, because of inconsistency with other Paris architecture. The elite were partly placated by the promise that it would be torn down in 1909, when the property lease to the builders expired. But by 1909 it was judged that the tower had become too important for the then-new means of communication across the nation—radio! Many of the cultural elite were furious all over again, but to no avail. Needless to say, almost everybody is now happy that the Eiffel Tower was built and was not torn down. The moral of this story is that it is very good to preserve history, but even better to MAKE history. Vive la tour Eiffel! Vive la tour WRFU!”
Now more than ever, WRFU needs you. Interested in fundraising, community radio, radio engineering, music or community engagement? Have a personality for radio or you wish you did? Become a WRFU member and share your expertise or start a show and learn about radio broadcasting. 65 or 100 feet in the air, we’re always broadcasting locally grown programming. We look forward to our expansion and hope you’ll join us,. Let’s make community radio by the people for the people for our community like the Eiffel Tower is to Paris—inseparable.