FROM PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT, Part 6.
“God causes all things to work together for good”
This is a continuation of the story of Engineer F. M. Perry’s involvement with the construction and start-up operation of The World Christian Broadcasting Corporation’s international short wave radio station KNLS at Anchor Point, Alaska.
October 1981 -
A letter dispatched October 8, 1981 to Kevin Chambers from F. M. Perry should be considered a very important event in the history of WCBC. It marks the start of the career of Kevin Chambers with WCBC. At this writing, May 2006, Kevin probably has more seniority with respect to time devoted to employment with the organization than anyone else. And Kevin has been from the beginning a very valuable “key” employee, leading and managing “state-of-the-art” technical development and expansion of WCBC. F. M.’s letter of 1981, sent with the approval of Bob Scott, offers Kevin a job with no guarantee of a regular salary, based on the possibility of people donating funds in the amount of millions of dollars, and on the possibility of getting an FCC license in a political climate where no license had been granted in years. The job offer was to start work by clearing timber in the forest. There was lots of demand for a top level man of Kevin’s caliber in Alaska at the time. But Kevin took the job offer of WCBC because, apparently, he could see in his mind’s eye the radio signals actually rising up out of that forest already, taking the message of God’s love to spiritually poor people abroad who desperately needed to hear it.
A copy of the letter follows:
“World Christian Broadcasting Corporation
Box 378, Fort Valley Route
Strasburg, Virginia 22657
8 October 1981
“Mr. Kevin Chambers
Anchor Point, Alaska 99556
“It was good to talk with you personally a few weeks ago. I really appreciate your initiative in writing and in coming forward to express your desire to assist in the construction and operation of WCBC’s Anchor Point station.
“I feel that there will be a job for you as soon as we get full approval to go-ahead with construction from our President, Mr. Robert E. Scott. That approval depends on several things which cannot be precisely scheduled at this time. Some of these things are:
“Easement from the State of Alaska to use land to the north
of WCBC property.
“Issuance of FCC construction permit.
“Gathering of necessary funds.
“We are proceeding with faith that our Lord will make it possible to complete these pre-requisites by the spring of 1982. If you are available for full time work with us at the time we are able to proceed with construction, I would envision your job at first to be that of a general workman, assisting where you are most needed. That might be in clearing of timber, erection of fence, construction of buildings and utilities, etc. Your woodworking skill might make you especially useful in the construction of the transmitter/studio building. When equipment installation starts, I would expect you to go into that work and continue in the installation, test, and on-going maintenance of studio, transmitter, and antenna equipment. I hope you will continue with your studies to get your FCC license as you have planned.
“As you know, all funds for use in defraying expenses of the station are coming from Christian donations, partially from donations from individual. and partially from the sale of program time to congregations of the Church of Christ. The employees supported by these funds will be, in a very real sense, ‘missionaries’ broadcasting the gospel of Christ to the lost. We hope to get various congregations to sponsor and support these ‘missionaries’, both those who may assist in the construction phase and those who continue as long term workers at the station. If there is a congregation which might contribute to your support as a ‘technician-missionary,’ please let us know so that we may assist you to get such support.
“There are some things that should go forward this fall and winter which you could accomplish tor us it you have time. We could reimburse you at an appropriate hourly rate, plus expenses, for the following kinds of part time work:
“1. Assistance to surveyor in surveying and marking the site.
“2. Solicitation of proposals and cost estimates from local contractors for access-road construction, building site preparations, drilling and installation of well, installation of septic tanks and sewage system, electric power distribution to building sites, etc.
“If you will have time to assist with these tasks, I will correspond with you later in more detail on each of them. Please let me know what you feel an appropriate hourly rate might be for these kinds of tasks.
“May God bless you and your wife in your new life at Anchor Point. I look forward to working with you in one Christian endeavor or another in future years.
Director of Engineering.”
Reuel Lemmons, Editor of the publication “Firm Foundation,” gave a boost to the fund raising effort by writing and publishing an editorial and front page picture in the October 13, 1981 edition. The paragraph below the picture of the WCBC Board of Directors identified the members of the Board and read as follows:
“THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR WORLD CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING met recently near Washington, D.C. to complete plans for an international short wave radio station in Alaska. This one station can bring one-third of the world’s 4.5 billion people within broadcast range of the gospel, including China and much of the USSR. A crisis need exists for Christians to help get this station on the air at the earliest date possible. Pictured left to right: John A. Johnson, Dr. B. E. Davis, Edward Bailey, Pat McMahon, Dr. George Bridges, Gayle Crowe, Charles Whittle (Chairman of the Board), Cline Paden, and Dr. Robert E. Scott (President of WCBC). Board members not pictured are John Fisk, and D. B. Jones.”
Following is Reuel Lemmon’s editorial of October 13, 1981:
AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING
“We have tried to always support every effort to reach someone who is not ‘us’ with the gospel. Brethren have devised many schemes for reaching the lost, and all of them have their advantages. We would encourage every one of them. From its very beginning we have urged brethren to consider the opportunity afforded by The World Christian Broadcasting Corporation. We do so again.
“Eight Christian men, mostly from Abilene, began in 1976 an effort to reach the otherwise unreachable parts of the earth via radio. A tragic plane crash took three of them, and the effort was postponed until 1979. Near the end of that year a site was purchased at Anchor Point, Alaska for the first of possibly three international short wave stations to be built, which would reach most of the Asiatic world. A few have done a lot to further this idea. It is feasible, is expedient and is badly needed.
“It is the objective of the Board of Christian men to provide a facility for the use of individuals and churches, which cannot be limited or censored by non-Christian elements, and which can make the gospel available on a basis more vast than anything we have ever dreamed of before. Ultimately it is the hope of this group that the world can be blanketed with the gospel in every man’s language through three giant transmitters. This is the first step in that direction.
“The church is now represented in about 100 nations of the world, and it contains people who speak perhaps 200 of the world’s languages. It will be possible for most every man to hear the gospel ‘in his own language wherein he was born,’ and for the preaching to be done by one of his native fellowmen. What an opportunity!
“A short time ago a tornado struck Whichita Falls, Texas. As soon as the news was out churches began to take special collections for the benefit of the unfortunate victims. More than a million dollars rolled in. Even as this is being written news of suffering in Poland is getting out, and with little publicity more than a half a million dollars has flowed in to fill the need. Perhaps more than that will follow as the news spreads. Our people are very liberal with their means to alleviate human misery. The spiritual poverty of the world doesn’t trouble us as it should.
F. M. had previously met and talked with a Christian man, Mr. Bill Ashley, owner and operator of a firm called Excalibur Electronics, who lived in Burke, Virginia, not very far from F. M.’s home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In a letter dated October 1, 1981 Mr. Ashley wrote to F. M.:
“Dear Bro. Perry: Thank you for taking time Tuesday evening to share with me WCBC’s plans. You have undertaken a great work and are to be praised for your efforts.
“An offer is herewith made of my services if you believe they would be beneficial to the WCBC project. I can offer assistance in the following areas:
“1) Building planning, including transmitter, studio, and office layout; assistance to the architect on acoustical planning; assistance in planning the electrical layout peculiar to radio stations.
“2) Equipment planning, including selection of studio and test equipment, negotiations for purchase, and other aspects of equipment acquisition.
“3) Design, fabrication, and performance verification of any specialized or custom audio equipment required by the station.
“4) Equipment installation and performance verification.
“My experience in this field is as follows: I have held Radiotelephone First Class Operator License for 18 + years. I have been Chief Engineer for WAVA for 13 + years. My total broadcasting experience, which includes programming as well as engineering, is 23 years. I have designed buildings for and/or installed equipment for several radio stations in Virginia and North and South Carolina. Since 1975, I have also operated a small manufacturing firm which builds audio equipment for broadcast stations (brochure enclosed). I have been a Christian since November, 1963. Presently I worship with the Saints meeting at Falls Church, Virginia, where I serve as a Deacon and chairman of the worship committee.
“Thanks again for Tuesday evening; let me hear from you. Yours truly, Bill Ashley.”
Upon receiving Mr. Ashley’s letter F. M. contacted him by phone and drove over to Burke, Virginia to interview him. After the interview F. M. wrote the following letter to Mr. Ashley:
“Dear Bill, It was good to visit with you October 15 at your office. Thank you for giving me so much of your time on that day. I feel that our discovery of you, a person who is willing to provide professional services free of charge, is another instance of God’s providential guidance in this project.
“As we discussed in your office, the most urgent requirements which you might address right now are:
“1. Studio and building criteria to be sent to our architect so that he may proceed with building design.
“2. A list of equipment you would recommend for studios, transmitter control, monitoring, test, maintenance, etc. In the very near future we may desire to finance the purchase of this equipment as a package along with the main transmitter and antenna equipment.
“Under the heading of “building criteria for the architect,” please include recommendations of size and shape of studios, possible layout of studios with respect to transmitters and other facilities, acoustical requirements, size and location of wiring ducts, etc. Along with the equipment list, please indicate price and delivery information and send descriptive literature where possible. Also, I would appreciate receiving a block diagram of how the equipment fits together. We will certainly be happy to consider appropriate equipment of your own design and manufacture in this list.
“This is just a line to remind you of our most urgent priorities so that I may keep other work going. Beyond these things I would appreciate receiving from you a descriptive list of the tasks in which you would expect to be involved together with your schedule of for completion of
each task. I want to dovetail your work into our master schedule. We hope to start site preparation in Alaska as early in the spring as possible, complete the studio/transmitter/office building by the fall of 1982 and winter of 1983.
“Thank you again for offering to help us. I am looking forward to our association with great pleasure. Sincerely, F. M. Perry.”
Bill Ashley went to work immediately on the long list of tasks F. M. had given him. He first answered F. M.’s letter with a four page letter on October 24, 1981 and there followed an exchange of phone calls and more letters. He also corresponded directly with Dick Perkins, our architect in Alaska.
FCC APPLICATION FILED OCTOBER 23, 1981. CONSTRUCTION PERMIT MAY BE GRANTED WITHIN SIX MONTHS.
Bob Scott and Attorney Richard Zaragoza filed the WCBC application for a construction permit on October 23, 1981. Someone in the FCC in Washington ventured an estimate that WCBC would have the permit within six months!
F. M. had already been working at a fairly fast clip, but now all work took on a sense of added urgency. We must be ready to start construction on site within six months!
November 1981 -
In a five page letter dated November 10, 1981, Bill Ashley began to generate solutions to many
of the tasks F. M. had given him. In addition Bill gave advice from his experience which served to warn F. M. of possible future problems. For instance, Bill posed a question: “What do you plan to use for an RF ground? I know the transmitter output is balanced, so one side of the output is not grounded. But somewhere you’ve got to connect the transmitter cabinets to the earth. I need a good ground, too, for the audio equipment.” Bill may not have known the exact nature of the problem we would encounter but he was right to raise this “flag.” We later found that the establishment of a good RF ground became a problem. Just driving a copper rod into the ground did not establish a consistent ground at the Alaska site. There was a relatively high impedance between any two driven copper rods because of the high amount of organic matter in the soil. We eventually had to drill another well deep into the earth and use copper foil wrapped around the well casing as a common ground point.
Bill used other Christian volunteers to assist him. He wrote:
“Bro. Wayne Beaty is helping me with the power riser diagram. Bro. Beaty (a Registered
Professional Engineer) has already phoned the folks at the Homer Electric Association (whom he knows) and has been told that they can supply power in the form that we need it with no problems. (Incidentally, Bro. Beaty is Associate Editor of the eleventh edition, and will be Editor of the twelth edition of Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers. If you don’t already have this book in your personal library, I highly recommend it.) He and I are meeting tomorrow night after Bible Study to discuss the riser. I should have it ready to send to Bro. Perkins shortly.”
Most of Bill’s letter was devoted to discussion of the building design, the first floor-plan draft of which he submitted with the letter. His first floor-plan draft underwent a number of changes before the architect made it into the building that was actually built at Anchor Point. However, the first draft established the major principles and was amazingly similar to the final “as-built” transmitter building at Anchor Point.
Looking back at the history of the WCBC Anchor Point project it is clear that we were blessed with the highest quality of engineering assistance that could ever have been assembled. Yet many were people whom we had not known before, but who made themselves known to us and actually went to work for us. Even before the FCC application was filed we had already had the help of men like Bob Austin, Bill Ashley, Wayne Beaty, Dave Becker, Jack L. Brooks, Jim Dillinger, Don Ledger, Richard Perkins, Norman Lowell Smith, William E. Stevens, and probably others whose names F. M. has forgotten. There are many others who will be named as this story continues to unfold.
These volunteers made the project successful for the “core” few engineers who took on the project to start, namely Jim Lockwood and F. M. Perry, who were of very limited experience. They simply had never before built a high powered short wave radio broadcasting station and did not know what all kinds of problems would be encountered. For instance, although F. M. had always been aware that there was danger to humans in exposure to high density electromagnetic radiation, he did not know exactly what level of danger might be encountered in the WCBC project at Anchor Point. He had no choice but to learn fast. But until he understood to the contrary, he knew he could take no chances handling the high power densities to be encountered. The result turned out to be a first station design with a very expensive built-in safety factor, far more safety factor than necessary. David Hudson, our contract consultant from the engineering firm of Hammet and Edison, was among the first to notice. His more exact evaluation of the actual extent of danger present in the Anchor Point installation enabled us to build a fully safe installation, but all on our own land, saving money that would have been spent buying or leasing more land. David stayed with us until our FCC application was accepted and provided us with an “Electromagnetic Radiation Statement” applicable specifically to the WCBC property at Anchor Point. A copy of David’s letter and statement are included below on pages 74-78.
On November 24, 1981 Bob Scott issued a general information Memo to the Christian brotherhood informing everyone that the U. S Government (the FCC) had accepted our application to construct an international short wave broadcasting station. The financial requirement to have all the funds necessary to install the station available by the time of submission of the application was met by an actual fund asset of $300,000 cash and two large credit letters. The credit letters were to be replaced with actual assets by May 1982. This left $1.2 million more in funds to be raised very quickly or face the possibility of having the application rejected.
Bob issued the following Memo to:
“To: Encouragers of World Christian Broadcasting,
“From: Robert E. Scott, Date: November 24, 1981
“Your interest in helping to tell others about the urgent need before World Christian Broadcasting is a great encouragement to us. Thank you for the way you have allowed God to use you in helping to develop this unique effort among our brethren in world evangelism.
“October 23 we filed our FCC application. It is being moved along in an encouraging manner. We hope to be granted a permit to start construction by next May. Programming efforts are underway aimed at going on-the-air in the summer of 1983.
“We met financial requirements before the FCC on October 23 by capital assets of $300,000 and two large credit letters. We should have until May 1982 to replace the credit letter with capital assets. However, the FCC could require us to do that at any time sooner, should they decide in these times of economic stress that we should demonstrate more tangible evidence of financial strength. Such a requirement could delay our application and place our Alaskan station in danger once more of the January 1984 World Adminstrative Radio Conference. This means that in order to secure this station’s future, we have an urgent need to complete our funding by raising $1.4 million before the end of December!
“Enclosed is a recorded message from Jimmy Allen of Harding University and Juan Monroy of Madrid, Spain. Both of these brethren have been vital encouragers of our efforts. Please take time right now to hear what they have to say. Then, share this recorded message with leaders in your home congregation, and other congregations where you can. We need to encourage special contributions from as many assemblies of Christians as possible. Already we have received special contributions from Christians in 22 congregations over 10 states.
“Because our brethren responded so generously with more than $1.7 million to provide food for 1200 hungry brethren in Poland, as well as others they are helping, we believe there will be an interest also in helping to meet a greater emergency to provide the Bread of Life to spiritually starving millions in parts of the world now beyond our missionary outreach. Any efforts you can make to help tell about the challenge and opportunity before us will be appreciated.
“Questions and suggestions are always welcome. All contributions will be acknowledged and are tax deductible. Above all, please pray for God’s guidance upon all these efforts. May God bless you abundantly and use you effectively as you serve him daily.”
Another of F. M.’s letters to Bill Ashley gives a summary of accomplishments up to the end of November 1981 and the firming up of plans to actually start construction by the spring of 1982:
“Box 378, Fort Valley Route
Strasburg, Virginia 22657
20 November 1981
“Mr. Bill Ashley
5645 Mount Burnside Way
Burke, Virginia 22015
“Dear Bill: We got back home yesterday and your letter of 10 November was waiting for me. I hope to come in to the city to talk with you soon. I'll call before I come. In the meantime, I'll try to answer your letter.
“There is much, much more to the Transmitter instruction book than what I sent you. When I come in to town I'll bring the instruction book with me and you can keep it awhile, or copy what you need.
“Concerning an RF ground, we will have to make one. Our well (water) system will probably use plastic pipe and there will be no metal pipe system underground to use for a ground. I don't know that such a water system would be suitable for an RF ground anyway. Please give us your recommendation on how we can establish the "grounds" we will need.
“There is no property plat. The property has never been closely surveyed and marked. The original homesteader did enough measuring and marking for his own benefit to make sure he was occupying the correct property. There is a permanent marker at one corner of the property which is a Section corner. One of our first jobs at the site is to get it surveyed and marked. We will probably not have a topographical plot made. The site for the transmitter/studio building is, for all practical purposes, flat. I have seen the site. It is flat virgin woods. Flat virgin
Alaska woodland is flat on the average. However, from foot to foot when walking over the land it is far from table flat. One foot steps on a hummock of soil and roots. The next foot steps in a hole between the hummocks which may be full of water in the wet season (spring). Preparations for the building will consist of leveling the land (after trees and stumps are removed) by a bull dozer. Some gravel fill may be brought in for the site. The result will be a level site. So please
treat the building as though it is to be built on a perfectly level site. It will be surrounded by woods. We will have to remove trees for the road, the parking lot, the transmission line runs, the antennas, and the area in front of the antennas. We don't plan to remove the trees behind the antennas although this will be a restricted area for 450' behind each antenna. I estimate we may have to clear 20 or 30 acres of land of trees. We will remove the stumps only where necessary (roads, parking lots, and building sites).
“The dimensions I put on the plot plan are approximate. The legal description of the property does not give the dimensions. The dimensions will be established by the surveyor when he makes the survey. Incidentally, the survey may be underway already. It will be done this fall or winter.
“The actual description of the property is as follows: "71.35 acres of land composed of North 1/2 of the Northwest 1/4 of Section 18, Township 5 South, Range 14 West, Seward meridian, 3rd judicial district, State of Alaska."
“A Section is generally 1 mile square. We have 1/2 of 1/4 of a Section. At lower latitudes in the U. S. our property would be 2,640 feet long and 1,320 feet wide. However, at our location the lines of longitude are closer together than in the U. S., and they are not really parallel. The result is, where our land happens to lie, a Section is not a full mile wide. In arriving at the approximate dimensions of our land I reasoned that the Section 18 should be a full mile on north/south dimension. Therefore, our land is 1/4 mile (or 1,320') wide. Then I calculated a length which would come out to 71.35 acres. (I must have made a mistake when I did that. I may have been thinking 71.20 acres instead.) Our only real job is to make sure all our installations are on our property. I have asked that the surveyor be instructed to mark the boundaries of our property so that we will see them and observe them.
“Please extend my thanks to Bro. Wayne Beaty. I want to meet him sometime. I tend to agree that we should go with copper rather than aluminum for the feeders and distribution. Hope we can get a cost estimate of this, along with every other detail of equipment and material, so we will know how to plan financially. I am already apprehensive that my original ball-park estimates may turn out to be too low.
“I'll pass on the comments concerning Harris versus Continental transmitters. We have heard them before and certainly have not discounted them. Harris assures us that after some 5 to 7 years with their PDR modulation scheme they have removed the "bugs" from it. We may be tied in with Harris now because they have helped us with a letter of credit concerning financing. We had to have this when we filed our FCC application. Our application spells out the Harris transmitter.
“You have done a beautiful and thorough job on the proposed building layout. Because of my frugal nature, knowing how hard it is to raise the money to build the station, desiring to keep initial expenditures within the original estimates, and knowing that operations in Alaska will eventually be curtailed in favor of studio operations in the "lower 48," I wish we could keep the overall size of this building smaller than that you have shown. However, let us go on planning for a layout such as the one you have sent to me. After all, the architect will be the one to complete the final plans. We can meet with him, perhaps, within the near future and try to put together ideas to keep the costs low and perhaps to reduce the size of the building.
“I think it will be good to have an equipment list and cost estimate to equip the building as you have laid it out. If we have to reduce costs it will probably have to be only an initial reduction. We may have to pare down the initial expenditures to a bare minimum and expand later.
“During November of last year I visited KGEI, a religious broadcasting (SW) station in San Francisco and I took lots of notes on their operation. I'll bring these with me when I come to visit you. I think you will be interested in them. KGEI has been operating much the same way we will operate in the future.
“Thank you for your work. Will try to call you next week.
“Sincerely, Francis M. Perry.”
December 1981 -
Plans to get work started were laid out by F. M. in a letter to Bob Scott dated December 1, 1981:
“Dear Bob. The enclosed pictures are explained on the back of each [pictures taken on F. M.’s three trips to the Anchor Point site.]
“I have made a new more detailed PERT chart. It is about 19" x 24" in size on tracing paper so it can be blue printed. Many things on the chart need some explanation. Some things are proposals which may or may not be carried as shown. I expect to revise the chart regularly as you and the Board decide how project will be carried out.
“All my thinking is based on the assumption that we will; have an FCC construction permit by the end of April 1982. I also assume that we will have sufficient funds to place all purchase orders for equipment and move full-speed ahead with expenditures at site by May 1982.
“In the upper left of the PERT chart are tasks which advantageously could be done this winter. At least we ought to get the property surveyed and boundaries, road, parking lot, and building sites marked. (Norman Smith is supposed to be going ahead with this. I must check on progress.) After the survey, someone should mark the trees which will have to be removed from the site. I have enclosed a sketch of the areas from which all the trees must be removed, some 30.65 acres. The timber removal will be no small job. Hopefully we could get it removed from the road right-of-way, parking lot, and building sites during the winter. The removal of timber from in front of the antenna could wait until summer 1982.
“As soon as funding will permit, purchase orders (contingent on receiving our FCC construction permit) should be placed for transmitter and antennas. The tower portions of the antenna systems must be received at site early enough in the summer to be erected before ‘snow flies.’
“This coming summer of 1982 will be the time of most intense activity. Power lines must be put in as early as possible. The road and parking lot must be built. The transmitter/studio building must be enclosed so that inside work can continue in the fall and winter of 1982/83. A well must be drilled, septic system installed, and a few outside amenities (such as some outdoor lighting) completed during the summer. And of course, the towers must be erected.
“I am also proposing that some pads (level lots) be provided with electrical power, water, and septic connections so that personnel can park mobile homes or house trailers. This would allow some missionary construction workers to come and live in a self-contained manner. I envision only two or three such pads. I still feel that volunteer personnel should provide their own housing if such is available in the Anchor Point or Homer area. The mobile homes would be furnished by the workers themselves or by those who are supporting them.
“We need to ‘sign up’ as soon as possible some volunteers who will be able to serve as construction leaders or foremen next summer. I really do not know what to expect with regard to numbers and capabilities of people who will be able to come to Alaska and donate their work. I have shown on the charts a number of ‘contracts’ for tasks. These could be contracted to volunteer contractors who will donate their services, if qualified volunteers can be found.
“I think I sent you a copy of my letter to Kevin Chambers. A copy of his answer, which just arrived, is enclosed. I think Kevin has the capability to do the tasks that I have marked with his name.
“I will see Bill Ashley tomorrow. He is doing a good job making recommended layouts for the transmitter/studio building, planning equipment for the studios, etc. I will send you copies of his recommendations after I look them over and add my comments. Then, after you have approved them, we’ll send them on to Dick Perkins so he can proceed with the building design.
“Charlotte and I are really glad that you are leading this effort. We thank God for your faith and enthusiasm.
“Will send more later. F. M.”
The next letter to Bob Scott on December 8, 1981 revealed more of F. M.’s recommended plans:
“Dear Bob, Attached are my comments on the ‘contingent order’ we have with Harris. Bill Ashley, under my supervision, is working on new lists of Program Input Equipment, Test Equipment, and Control Room Equipment. These are the items on the ‘contingent order’ with Harris which I have indicated are ‘not yet firm.’ (value about $32,300.) We will probably find it advantageous to remove these items from the Harris order and purchase them separately.
“Our requirements for the antenna systems will probably result in some increase in cost for the towers. Also, we must add more transmission line and some RF switches which are not included. For this reason the total value of our firm order with Harris, even if we remove the items for Program Input, Test, and Control Room, will be approximately the same as presently shown on the ‘contingent order;’ and Harris should not object to the removal of the lower cost items.
“Also attached are copies of some of the material Bill Ashley is turning out. Several
sheets stapled together detail the Power Distribution room in the transmitter building. Bill will complete this by getting cost estimates of the equipment shown on these sheets.
“Bill has made a number of floor plans for the transmitter/studio building from which I have chosen 2 alternatives to be considered. I propose that we send these two plans, along with additional material on which Bill is working, to Dick Perkins to show him our building requirements and get Dick started on active building design. Sometime soon it will be necessary, or at least advantageous, to get Dick Perkins, Bill Ashley, you, and myself together (also John Fisk) to discuss this building. Can we bring Dick Perkins down to Abilene at Lectureship time, and Bill Ashley over to Abilene at the same time, in order to complete building planning? Bill will need travel expense money.
“If we choose a floor plan similar to the larger one attached, the cost of the building may go to $250,000. If we choose something like the smaller floor plan we may be able to build the building for the $150,000 I have estimated. We could probably get along with the smaller plan if we put some offices in a mobile home building as I proposed in my last letter. Also, in order to hold down initial expenses, we can leave part of the building interior ‘unfinished.’. We need to consider the initial broadcast operation and personnel with studios at site, and then eventual operations when studios may be located in the ‘lower 48.’
“Both of these floor plans show two studios, a news room, and a master
control room. I believe this is the maximum we will ever need in Alaska. The cost of equipment to put all these facilities into operation will probably exceed our original estimate. To hold down initial expense, we might equip only the news room and studio ‘A.’ Studio ‘B’ is probably larger than we need. Bill made it large enough to accommodate a singing group. These diagrams are a start so that we can make some decisions.
“In order to recruit the proper people to help us next summer (and thereafter) I propose we have each applicant fill out an application form so that we may be assured of getting all necessary information, both personal and professional. Do you have such a form, or would you like to devise one?
“I feel that we must carefully consider all applicants and invite only those we feel can form a harmoniously working team able to contribute under very trying circumstances. We must not only determine which applicants are professionally qualified but which will be personally suited for the tasks ahead. I would point out that WCBC does not have funds for the support of volunteer workers. If a volunteer cannot donate his time and defray the expenses of his own travel and living, it is hoped that necessary funds may be obtained from churches of Christ willing to support workers as ‘construction missionaries’. WCBC does not plan to provide housing and board for volunteer workers. It is hoped that volunteer workers will be able to rent housing facilities in the Anchor Point or Homer communities. The permanent employees to operate the station after construction will be chosen during the construction period from applicants available at that time. Preference will be given to qualified applicants living in the
Anchor Point/Homer area.
“These are my ideas concerning choosing of volunteer construction workers. Perhaps it is not enough incentive to get the volunteer workers we need. WCBC might campaign among the churches to raise support for volunteer workers. This would give us more control in placing funds with qualified volunteers which we really want to invite to the site.
“I am ready to start correspondence with applicants. But, first, I would like to have your policy guidance, perhaps in the form of some rules such as I have outlined above. We will need the help of all the Board members and all the Advisors in finding suitable volunteer workers. They should know the rules so that only those seriously interested will apply.
“More later. With love, F. M.
(To be continued.)