Frequently Asked Questions

New England Public Radio Facts and FAQs

How is New England Public Radio funded?

Nearly ninety percent of New England Public Radio’s funding comes from the local community – 14,000 individual members and over 300 local businesses. The rest comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, In-kind Services from UMass Amherst, the Four Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges), and other sources.  You can find our most recent annual report by clicking here.

What is the WFCR Foundation?

The WFCR Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that supports public radio stations WFCR and WNNZ. In addition to owning the WNNZ stations (AM 640 and 91.7 FM), it raises, stewards and administers private funds in support of all three stations as well as WFCR’s five repeater stations in the Berkshires.

How can I contact New England Public Radio with comments about programming?

We appreciate and encourage listener feedback. If you would like to share your thought about programming, please call Director of Programming, Helen Barrington, at 413.577.0541 or email hbarrington@nepr.net.

How do I make suggestions of programs I want New England Public Radio to broadcast?

Please contact our Director of Programming, Helen Barrington at 413.577.0541 or email hbarrington@nepr.net with your suggestions.

How can I find a CD or transcript of a program I heard?

NPR posts both archived audio and transcripts for its news programs online. Many individual news & information programs also do this.

Audio and transcripts from local New England Public Radio news stories and features are also available online, and can be found through the search function on the NEPR news page.  For inquiries about CD and hard copy transcripts, please email News Director Sam Hudzik.

What was the music I heard on WFCR?

New England Public Radio maintains playlists of music heard on WFCR’s classical, jazz and world music programs.  Current playlists are always available on the homepage in the blue bar on the right. Click “view playlist” to see a list of the last 10 songs played. If you’re looking for something played yesterday, or last week, you can find that too. Click on “view playlist” then go to the upper right hand side of the page and click “search playlist.” There you will be able to search by day, program, key word, etc.

What was the music I heard between news stories during Morning Edition or All Things Considered?

If you’re curious about music heard during an NPR news program, both All Things Considered and Morning Edition post rundowns of their programs which include the music played between news stories and features. Click on these links to go to the archives of their programs and choose the date you are looking for.

Can I submit a commentary to New England Public Radio?

Yes! New England Public Radio airs commentaries from local writers every Friday morning during Morning Edition Extra. We look for writers in the region whose views will be of continuing interest and value to WFCR and WNNZ’s listeners – from the Berkshires to Worcester, Hartford to Brattleboro, and all points between. MORE >

How can my business Underwrite on WFCR and WNNZ?

New England Public Radio offers an array of opportunities for area businesses. For details, check our underwriting page. For information on NEPR underwriting opportunities, web advertising, and event sponsorships, call 413-577-0779.

How can I become a volunteer for New England Public Radio?

WFCR receives support in many ways from volunteers, most frequently during fund drives, but also on an ongoing basis. If you would like to contribute by volunteering your time and talents, please fill out the online volunteer form or contact our volunteer coordinator at 413-545-0100.

DONOR FAQs

Is there a minimum contribution to be considered an active donor to New England Public Radio?

We do not recommend a specific dollar amount. We ask that you contribute an amount that fits your budget. When you make a contribution of $50 or more, you can choose from a number of thank you gifts and we’ll send you a Community Connection Card. All contributions are greatly appreciated and support the programming you hear on our stations.

When will I be asked to renew my support?

We ask you to renew your support once every 12 months.  You’ll receive your first renewal request several months before the 12 month period is over.  The sooner you respond, the fewer reminders we will send!

What is a sustaining partner?

A sustaining partner agrees to make a monthly contribution of $5 or more to New England Public Radio on an ongoing basis via a credit card or bank account withdrawal.  This plan is open-ended and continues until your ask us to stop.

Sustaining partners provide New England Public Radio with a steady, reliable source of income.  Supporting New England Public Radio in this way cuts costs, which allows more of your contribution to go directly to the programming you love, and you won’t receive renewal notices in the mail!

How can I update my credit card information or address?

It’s easy! Please call Susan Lofthouse at 1-413-545-1786. She can update your address, credit card, expiration date, pledge amount, or any other information you need changed.

My employer participates in the employee matching gift program. How do I enroll?

Simply obtain a matching gift form from your human resources department, fill it out and send it to New England Public Radio along with your contribution.

I have not received a tax deduction acknowledgment from my contribution earlier this year. I need one now.

We send acknowledgements through the mail for gifts of $50 or more.  If you need one during tax season, you can contact Chris Daly at 413-545-3372 and he will send you one.

Can I make a contribution to New England Public Radio in someone else’s name as a gift?

Yes, and it makes a great gift for the public radio listener in your life! You make the contribution, and the recipient will receive the benefits, including a thank you gift, if you wish.  To do this, call us at 413-545-3372, or send a check.  Whichever way you choose, please be sure to let us know the name and address of the gift recipient.

Why did I receive another renewal notice when I already sent my contribution?

If your contribution and our renewal notice cross in the mail, please accept our apologies and our sincerest thanks. This happens when your contribution gets posted to our database after we’ve mailed renewal notices for that month.  Occasionally an extra letter is the result of a duplicate file or other issue with our database. If you think that might be the case, please contact Chris Daly at csdaly@nepr.net  or call 413-545-3372.

When will my thank you gift arrive?

If you requested a thank you gift when you made your contribution, it will arrive in about six weeks.  If it has been longer than that, please contact us and we’ll be happy to investigate.  There are times when orders are delayed or an item is on back order and fulfillment takes longer than anticipated. We appreciate your patience

I’m a sustaining partner. Do I still get thank you gifts?

Absolutely!  Just because you don’t call in during fund drives, we don’t want those of you who contribute on a monthly basis to be left without a proper thank you!  As a sustaining partner, you are entitled to receive one thank you gift per year, based on the amount of your annual contribution. Please call Chris Daly at 413-545-3372 to discuss the item you’d like to receive.

HD RADIO

What is HD Radio™?

Radio stations have always used an analog mode for transmitting audio, and that has not ended — the standard broadcasts continue, and all radios can receive it.  But stations can now transmit an additional signal that uses digital audio, called HD Radio™.  Special radios are required to receive this transmission.

How can I tell if my radio gets HD Radio™ ?

Radios that can use the new transmission display a special HD Radio™ logo.  Almost all radios display the station selected on a digital screen, but that’s a different thing and does not mean the radio can use the digital audio of HD Radio™.  The special logo is the key.

What’s on WFCR’s HD Radio™  signal?

WFCR actually transmits two HD Radio™ program streams.  One is a digital version of what you hear on standard WFCR — the radio will show this as WFCR-1 or HD-1.  The other offers classical music all day, and is labeled WFCR-2 or HD-2.

How do I tune in an HD Radio™ signal?

Just tune to 88.5 FM — the HD Radio™  will play the standard WFCR signal for about eight seconds, then automatically switch to WFCR-1.  The delay allows the radio to acquire the digital data it needs, and an indicator in the display will confirm the switch.  (On some radios you can manually switch back to analog for that listening session.) MORE >

When I tune it in, it doesn’t always stay tuned in.  Why not?

Sometimes an HD Radio™ can’t get a good enough signal to get all the data it needs.  For WFCR-1, the standard analog broadcast is always present and is used as a back-up signal.  Your radio will switch seamlessly between the two if it needs to. MORE >

Do WNNZ and WFCR’s low-power (translator) stations in the Berkshires also have HD Radio™ signals?

No, they don’t.  There is a version of HD Radio™ for AM radio stations like WNNZ, but the technology is problematic and has not been widely adopted.  As to the Berkshire translators, the power level that the FCC would permit for HD Radio™ on them is so low that it would not be effective.

Will I get a better signal for HD Radio™ or standard FM radio?

HD Radio™ was designed to overcome one of FM radio’s weaknesses, something called multipath.  FM signals bounce off buildings, poles and hills on the way to your radio, and these reflected signals arrive slightly later than the direct signal does, and sometimes interferes with it.  HD Radio™ was designed with built-in redundancy to overcome this, and while it doesn’t solve the problem all the time in all terrains, it will overcome a lot of multipath problems.  MORE >

Does HD Radio™ sound better than analog radio?

HD Radio™ has some of the beneficial characteristics of CDs, and the sound tends to have less background noise, greater clarity, a wider dynamic range, and greater separation of the left and right stereo signals than standard FM does.  The data has to be compressed for transmission, but a sophisticated algorithm is used to make it sound as good as possible.  As is true with standard radio, stations can tailor their equipment to create the sound they want, so HD Radio™ will not sound the same on every station. MORE >

Where can I buy an HD Radio, and in general find out more about it?

We suggest the main HD Radio™ site as the best resource for information.  It includes lists of radios for different purposes (for cars, tabletops and home stereo systems) and links to vendors.  The site is http://www.hdradio.com/.  MORE >

RECEPTION

What can I do to improve reception of WFCR?

The best thing you can do is to add an antenna to your radio, or experiment with its location if you already have one.  Sometimes moving it just a few feet, or turning it in a different direction, will make a difference.  They work best when fully extended.

How do I connect an indoor antenna to my radio or tuner?

There are two different types of connections, those designed for 75 ohm cables (typically a round cable with a connector on the end) and for 300 ohm cables (typically a wire with two flat prongs at the end that connect to screws on the radio).  Inexpensive transformers are available if you need to connect a 300 ohm antenna to a 75 ohm jack, and vice versa.

My FM radio has an antenna — what’s the best way to use it?

Portable radios:  It’s best to fully extend the whip antenna.  Then rotate it around for best reception (try it both horizontally and vertically), or try moving the radio to a different location in the room.

For information on Clock or tabletop radios, Dipole antennas, and Amplified antennas, click here.

Are there outdoor FM antennas?

There are.  We recommend that a professional installer be hired for putting them up, because they will be familiar with proper construction techniques, safety considerations (such as power lines near the house, grounding, etc.) and electrical codes.  Experience also helps in finding the best way to mount the antenna and run its cable to your receiver.  Any outdoor antenna should be mounted high and as far away from power lines, trees or other obstacles as possible. MORE >

What makes it so hard to get a good FM signal?

FM radio signals are line-of-sight transmissions, and one common problem is that a hill or building can block them, creating an electronic shadow.

Another problem is “multipath,” which can occur when a radio picks up more than one signal from a station, one coming directly from the transmitter and at least one other having bounced off a hill or building.  These secondary signals come in slightly later than the direct one and can interact with it in ways that degrade reception. MORE >

Can WFCR increase its power?

Unfortunately, it can’t.  The power levels for all stations are set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and fixed in place so that stations do not interfere with each other.

WFCR transmits with 13,000 watts from Pelham, Massachusetts (about 5.5 miles east of Amherst).  Our five stations in the Berkshires (which are in a special category called “translator stations”) are limited by regulation to low power, and use from 10 to 250 watts depending on their location.  Our station in Deerfield, WNNZ-FM, has 100 watts.

Can AM 640 all-news WNNZ increase its power – especially at night?

The power level of WNNZ, and the shape or “directionality” of its signal, are also fixed by the FCC.  WNNZ runs with 50,000 watts in the daytime, pointing northwest from Westfield, Massachusetts – that’s a very powerful AM signal.  But when the sun is down, it transmits with only 1000 watts.  Most AM stations reduce power or go off the air at sunset — this was set by the FCC early in the history of AM radio because signals in that band travel through the atmosphere differently when the sun is down than when it’s up.

How can I improve reception of AM 640 all-news WNNZ?

As with FM, a good antenna helps.  The online catalogue company C. Crane has some AM antennas on its list.

What about using an Internet radio?

This is growing in importance all the time, and you can link to the streams of WFCR and WNNZ through a computer or Internet radio here.  Once connected, you can use WiFi links in your home to distribute the signal.  The NPR Shop has some Internet radios at http://shop.npr.org/radios/, as does C. Crane.