WXPR Public Radio is inching ever closer to moving into their new home at 28 N. Stevens Street, next to Associated Bank in downtown Rhinelander. In fact, according to the station’s management, they’re now counting the days.
On April 25, new Station Manager/President Peg Arnold and retiring Station Manager Mick Fiocchi led the members of the Downtown Rhinelander Inc. Board of Directors on a tour of the new facility. While some renovation work continues on the building, Fiocchi said they are getting ever closer to going “live”.
“We can almost smell it now,” said Fiocchi as he led the group through a room dressed with fresh paint and carpet. “This is a long time coming, and we couldn’t be happier with how it’s going.”
The move is part of the WXPR’s larger effort to raise funds for various efforts at improving the station’s services to the community, known as the “Hear the Future” campaign. According to Fiocchi, the station is close to the campaign’s goal of $402,700. Johnson and Houlihan Law Offices sold the building to WXPR last year, contributing 75 percent of its value to the campaign, which amounted to a monetary donation of around $150,000. “That was really what kicked off this huge effort,” said Fiocchi.
The “Hear the Future” campaign entails funding a new full-time Community Features Editor position, building and equipping four new studios and creating a larger public space for station events and live broadcasts. It’s a project that has been in the works for several years, but has only really picked up steam within the last year.
“When we crunched the numbers that realized we could make this happen, that’s when everyone really got the ball rolling,” said Fiocchi. “It’s been stunning how the community has come together to help in this project.”
Fiocchi pointed out that Schoeneck Home Improvement is serving as the general contractor, While DeWitt is handling the electric, Barkas the plumbing, Brumar the cabinetry work, Carpetiers the flooring and rCad the HVAC work. He said all have contributed much more to the project than they’ve been paid for.
“The contractors have been wonderful to work with,” said Fiocchi. “They have all given an incredible amount of in-kind work.”
While financially the move will allow WXPR to get the most out of its raised funds, it also means a significant improvement in visibility for the station. He said they hope to have the new station fully operational by the end of May.
“We have a lot of work to do yet, but we’re optimistic we can do that,” said Fiocchi. “It’s getting exciting now.”
Editor Craig Mandli is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.