BETHEL — The Federal Communications Commission has awarded Maine Public seven new commercial FM station licenses to expand its reach into areas of the state that do not have any or only minimal access.

One of those towers will be placed in Bethel, which will benefit western Oxford County.

The new antennas will also improve Oxford County’s emergency alert system.

The system is used by the National Weather Service and other emergency outlets to inform Maine residents of potential dangerous situations such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards and even Amber alerts.

Expanding the network with seven new signals will benefit more than 71,000 rural residents.

According to Maine Public, construction permits have been approved for Bethel, Calais, Fort Kent, Mars Hill, Millinocket and two in Greenville. Projects in Bethel, Greenville and Millinocket will expand the reach of Maine Public Radio, while the other four projects enhance Maine Public Classical signal.


Jeff Mahaney, Maine Public’s chief technology officer, was not available for comment Wednesday, but in an earlier statement said, “We are very excited to have been approved for seven new signals for Maine. When we applied, we had two goals concerning our radio network. One, expand Maine Public Radio to unserved areas, and two, grow our existing classical network.”

“There’s work to be done on the fundraising side to build out these signals, but we are closer than ever to making Maine Public’s radio signals accessible to everyone in Maine,” he added.

Maine Public is the only noncommercial station that has statewide coverage. The upgrades will allow the station to localize potential emergency signals while expanding its overall reach.

The Bethel tower should be operational by April 2025.

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