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Kaspar Media celebrates renovation with open house

OPEN HOUSE: Kaspar Broadcasting Co. Inc. Director of Operations Kevin Keith, left, and President and CEO Russ Kaspar, along with members of their staff, welcomed the public to their newly renovated studios during Wednesday's open house.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Kaspar Broadcasting Co., Inc. welcomed the public inside its newly renovated studios during an open house on Wednesday at 1401 W. Barner St. in Frankfort.

Russ Kaspar, president and CEO of Kaspar Media, was happy with the turnout for the open house.

“It was steady all day long,” Kaspar said. “The weather forecast was a little iffy, but it turned out to be OK. We had business leaders and listeners. We just really enjoyed having everybody check it out.”

The studios, which house SHINE 99 and WILO, have been at their current location since the late '70s, and some of the interior had remained the same since then. So, Kaspar decided it was time to renovate.

“We, of course, put a new roof on,” he said. “Part of the building was a flat roof, so it had to have some restructuring of that, and a metal roof was put on by Welty (Roofing) – one that was stabilized because we did have some leaks. Then we got the green light to really cover virtually almost every square inch of the interior with paint, new ceiling or new flooring.

“It was quite stressful because we were trying to take the car down the street while we were changing the tire,” Kaspar added. “That lasted several months. We were able to put a new telephone system in and were able to upgrade some of the electronics along the way, though we were not able to do a complete rehaul of the electronics, and we didn’t need to. We were able to (renovate) Studio C between the two control rooms to allow us to do some more forums, summits and gatherings like Ag Day where we can pull in school superintendents, ag experts and do video and audio simultaneously.”

Kaspar added that they were able to add generator power at both the WILO and Shine 99 facilities to improve dependability for their listeners.

Many of those who came to the open house were actually able to witness some of the Ag Day productions live and in-person.

“We had Ag Day going on, so we were actually doing a live stream with (radio host) Jay Holley simultaneously, so they were able to look into the fish bowl, if you will, and actually watch a live program that was being broadcast on the air and on WILO TV,” Kaspar said.

Visitors were also able to see a radio mini-museum of sorts.

“We have a radio from the 1920s, a couple from the '40s and some record players,” Kaspar said. “We have a tube-type FM receiver. We have a light beacon lens that came down in the ice storm of 1991 when our 500-foot tower fell. We even had a piece of the Berlin wall that came down in the late '80s. They really enjoyed looking back through time and some of the memorabilia.”

Liz DeRosa, a front office secretary, first worked for Kaspar Media in 1986. She was happy to see the building get a fresh, new look.

“It is wonderful,” DeRosa said. “The added lighting is so much better, and it's more cheerful and uncluttered. It is great.

“I thought the open house went very well,” she added. “We had about twice as many people as I expected. It was a good turnout, and I appreciate everyone who came. If anybody missed it and wants a tour, just let me know.”