News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

KYAC raising funds for Emergency Alert System

Based in Mill City, KYAC community radio needs to update its Emergency Alert System per Federal Communication Commission mandates.

“The FCC now requires all radio stations to have either new updated firmware for all existing EAS that is capable of special encrypted data, or to replace any unit that isn’t up to the new encrypted data capability,” said Ken Cartwright, KYAC general manager/program director. “That would be us. The new unit will cost us $3,500, and there is no trade-in value for our old one.”

Cartwright is also the vice president of Santiam Hearts to Arts, the umbrella for the nonprofit, non-commercial radio station that has been on the air since July of 2013.

The FM station serves Oregon Santiam Canyon residents from Mill City, Gates, Lyons, Mehama, The Little North Fork, Elkhorn, Stayton, Sublimity, and surrounding and outlying areas to Highway 22 from mile post 11 to milepost 47. 

KYAC, “the voice of the Santiam Canyon, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week with both live DJs as well as prerecorded shows. The FM 90.1 station also supplies local news, weather and emergency information during power outages. 

“Our primary music format base is country classics, Americana, folk and bluegrass with some DJs playing other formats,” said Cartwright, who hosts Ken Till Ten from 6 a.m. to 19 a.m. on weekdays. DJs are all volunteers with the manager receiving a small stipend.

According to Cartwright, the EAS must be in place by March 1 for KYAC’s broadcast license not to be subjected to suspension and a penalty.

“Ours is 11 years old and the system has changed,” said Denise Sanders, board member for Hearts to Arts. “We don’t have a choice as to do it or not, so in addition to ongoing monthly expenses of about $1,700, we have this new expense.”

Additionally, Sanders reported the cost of everything has gone up, including power, water, phone, internet, insurance and music licensing fees.

KYAC is currently in the midst of its winter pledge drive which ends on Saturday, but it’s not too late to donate to the EAS replacement, officials agree.

“Give us a call, give us some feedback, and make a pledge to help keep KYAC your go-to station for emergencies, news weather, music and great programming,” Sanders said. “We’re here to listen to what you think is important.”

Craig Randall posted that KYAC is “an important part of our canyon,” which motivated his donation.

A limited supply of The Mop Tops & the King t-shirts will be given to people who pledge over $60. The group has been hosted by Steve Chelmsford for over 10 years on KYAC. Must pick it up at the studio in Mill City. 

KYAC is funded by donations from listeners, some underwriters, and private and public grants. Donations can be made the following ways: 

Cash and checks which can be dropped off at the station at: 158 SW Broadway during business hours or by appointment.

Personal check Make checks payable to KYAC and mail to the station at P.O. Box 172, Mill City, OR 97360 

Credit & debit cards. All varieties are accepted by calling the station at 503-897-6397.

PayPal. A donation link is posted on the website at

“Thank you for supporting KYAC community radio,” Sanders said.

For more information, call 503-897-6397 or visit Santiam Hearts to Arts on Facebook.

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