Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 26, 2018

Empty Nest: Farmington Has a Radio Station!

By Curt Swarm

Little known fact: Van Buren County’s only radio station is tucked away in the scenic valley that holds Farmington.  Searching your FM and AM dial, you probably won’t find KWQQ, unless you’re in Farmington.  It is a low-wattage, non-licensed radio station operated as a community service by Lamoyne and Melissa Westerbeck, out of their home in Farmington.  KWQQ, at 106.3 FM and 950 AM, has scheduled broadcasts from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, and 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.  During the off hours it plays random music.  
Formerly from Burlington, Lamoyne Westerbeck has always dabbled with radio.  As a boy, Lamoyne had a Mr. Microphone and connected it to a phonograph to play music.  He would accompany his uncle who worked on radio towers, and was fascinated with electronics.  Graduating from high school, and wanting to be a radio technician, he brushed up against DeVry University in Chicago, and took an online radio broadcasting course through Columbia School of Broadcasting.  Later, he had a stint with a radio station in Fairfield as a salesman and disc jockey.
Then he ran across a non-profit organization at www.hobbybroadcasters.net that assisted people in setting up legal, license-free, low-power radio stations.  He set up his first radio station in Burlington.  When he and his wife moved to Farmington, they took the radio station with them.  With no advertising, operating as a community service and for pure fun, it is the only radio station in Van Buren County.    
KWQQ also streams.  You can find it at www.musicradio95.com.  Its goal is to preserve old-time radio programs, and to offer a contemporary sound featuring programs the audience or their parents listened to when they were young.  Lamoyne downloads and broadcasts weekly shows such as Big Bob’s Memory Lane, and Hollywood 360.  Classic radio comedy includes such greats as Amos and Andy, Fibber McGee & Molly, and Red Skelton.  Mystery radio has The Shadow, and The Mystery Theater.  Drama has Dr. Christian and Lux Radio Theater.  Detective shows has Nero Wolfe, and Sherlock Holmes.  Westerns include Robert Conrad as Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, Hopalong Cassidy, and The Lone Ranger.  And there are children’s programs in the afternoon.  Sunday mornings offers local church services.
Lamoyne also reads local news and announcements on the air.  One of his neighbors and his wife sing and record their songs.  Lamoyne broadcasts those songs.  A goal of Lamoyne’s is to have a weather station that transmits local weather information to the radio Web site so that people can get local weather information 24/7.
Another goal is to to set up these low-power, non-licensed radio stations in other communities in Van Buren County, so that each community can have its own public service radio station.
But of course, money is always a problem.  For example, Lamoyne needs a tower, but can’t fit it into his budget.  He needs help from the community.  If the radio station is to be a community service, it needs help.  Any ideas out there would be appreciated.  There will be a community meeting on May 2 to discuss the situation.  Listen to the radio, or visit the Web site, for details.
And, while in the scenic Farmington valley, don’t forget to enjoy KWQQ at 106.3 FM or 950 AM. It’s someplace special.     

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his Web site at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.  Curt also records his columns on www.lostlakeradion.com.