The conversion to digital broadcasting will cost about $500,000.
By KATIE LIBECCO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Gary Sexton announced his effort to raise $50,000 for a new digital transmitter for WYSU-FM in an unusual way: He made the announcement from a treadmill.
Sexton is station director for Classical 88.5, and he and his trainer, Rick Kattouf, talked Monday about Sexton's plan to raise the money while running on the devices in Beeghly Physical Education Center at Youngstown State University.
Sexton has been training for a 50-mile ultra marathon in Michigan on Sept. 17. He hopes to raise money for the digital transmitter.
"I was familiar with other fund-raisers that involved running since it's something I do," Sexton said. "I thought this ultra marathon would be something different and catch people's attentions."
For each of the 50 miles, WYSU hopes to raise $1,000 through listener support.
"Digital radio is a much higher-quality sound than analog. The whole radio system is switching to it," Sexton said.
Receivers for digital radio are still somewhat rare, but are becoming more popular, Sexton said. He said WYSU will be able to multicast, or broadcast several subchannels of the station, with the new technology. Plans are not definite as to how the subchannels will be used.
The entire conversion to digital broadcasting will cost about $500,000 and take about five years.
Sexton said that the station will be able to broadcast an analog signal for a long time even after the digital conversion has been completed.
The John Wean Foundation in Warren gave the station $20,000 to put toward the $70,000 cost of the new transmitter.
WYSU's current analog transmitter is 16 years old and has been used continuously since 1989.
The ultra marathon is a first for Sexton, although he has been a long-distance runner since high school and has run the Boston, Pittsburgh, Sunburst and Casino Niagara marathons.
Sexton had a knee surgery in April, but he began training for the ultra marathon in May with Kattouf.
To see Sexton's training log, make donations or for more information, visit the Web site www.wysu.org.