WCQS in Asheville, N.C., is adding a network of all-news signals and rebranding as Blue Ridge Public Radio.
The station will continue to air a mix of news and classical music on its main signal, 88.1 FM. But it will add a series of translators airing news programming throughout Western North Carolina starting Monday.
The all-news programming will originate on WYQS in Mars Hill, N.C., which now airs a BBC World Service stream. It will broadcast on translators in Asheville, Brevard, Bryson City, Hendersonville and Waynesville.
BPR News will air nationally syndicated news shows as well as The Waters and Harvey Show, a new local talk show with two university professors discussing “the experiences and influence of minorities in [Western North Carolina] and the United States,” according to a press release.
The increased news coverage comes after more than two years of signal upgrading and expansion for WCQS. The station has spent an estimated $200,000 to build seven new translators and replace another, according to GM David Feingold.
The station’s classical programming is “very healthy,” Feingold said, but news has been fueling member acquisition. The station recently moved two reporter/hosts from part-time to full-time, added a part-time reporter and hired Matt Bush from WAMU in Washington, D.C., as news director.
Feingold said Blue Ridge Public Radio hopes to add more news staff in the next fiscal year. In the meantime, the station is working to partner with local newspapers and other North Carolina NPR stations, Feingold said.