March 03, 2007

Popularity of Christian stations on rise


Bob Ellis/staff photographer      
Erich Haesche works at his Christian radio station, WDRX-LP 100.7 FM, on Fisher Avenue in Cortlandville Feb 20. The station has broadcast approximately two years. WKRT in Cortlandville will soon become the county’s second Christian station.

Staff Reporter

CORTLANDVILLE — As the Bible Broadcast Network looks to air its content on WKRT in the coming months, Christian radio stations across the country have taken off in popularity.
From 1998 to 2006, the number of Americans listening to Christian radio stations in the top 96 markets has quadrupled, according to statistics from Abritron Inc, a media research firm.
Their growing popularity reflects several things, including people’s growing need for understanding in a complex world and the growing popularity of Christian pop, rock and punk rock, according to the couple who run a local Christian radio station in Cortlandville and a religion and popular culture expert in New York City.
Sue Haesche, 43, who volunteers at WDRX-LP, believes people’s lives are so complicated today, with such things as expensive student loans, busy schedules and mixed messages all around them, that they seek some sort of insight.
“They’re looking for something and someone bigger than themselves to find out why, or how do I cope with myself, and how do I get out of (the problems),” she said.
She said people are often shy about talking with others about their problems, but can anonymously listen to Christian radio stations, such as WDRX-LP, 100.7FM, to get advice.
Erich Haesche, Sue Haesche’s husband and the station’s only employee, said WDRX-LP, for example, airs numerous programs about healthy eating, thinking and living that come from the Three Angels Broadcasting Network, a 24-hour Christian radio and television show based in Illinois.
“If you feel good physically, hopefully you can feel good spiritually,” he said.
The station also airs local content such as Bible lessons taught by Sue Haesche.
Haesche said he does not know how many people listen to the station, which has a radius between 3 and 20 miles, as it is a low power station and not tracked.
The couple have broadcast at the station for the last two years.
Sue Haesche said hopefully the station can learn more about its listeners after it starts broadcasting its phone number more frequently, which should happen soon. The number is (607) 753-8704.
Eric Haesche, 38, said he is not surprised more people are listening to Christian stations nationally, but questions whether many people’s motives are what they should be.
Christian rock and punk rock groups have sprouted up, especially in certain contemporary Evangelical denominations, attracting followers. He said the problem is the followers are often more concerned with the narcissistic image of the performers than the elements of the religion they claim to be spreading. “Are we advertising a nice lady or god?” Haesche asked two weeks ago, pointing to a picture of a made up Christian rock singer in a stylish outfit.
Christopher Anderson, a lecturer in history, religion and popular culture at Fairleigh Dickinson University, said Haesche shows that different types of Christian radio stations are out there.
He said some stations, such as WDRX-LP focus on traditional church hymns, sermons and Bible readings, while others just air top-40s style hits.
If the Bible Broadcasting Networks starts broadcasting its programs on WKRT, it appears as though the programs will be more traditional, like WDRX-LP’s than popular music-based.
A spokesman for the station would not say what exactly would air on WKRT, but its Web site shows traditional Christian style programming.



Buckbee cleanup to cost EPA $1.2M

Staff Reporter

The cleanup and disposal of thousands of gallons of hazardous chemicals at the former Buckbee-Mears facility on Kellogg Road will cost the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about $1.2 million, an EPA spokesman said Friday.
An EPA crew first surveyed the vacant facility on Jan. 27, said spokesperson Leo Rosales. It has since been working intermittently at the site, where hazardous chemicals left behind by current owner International Electron Devices Ltd. were first brought to authorities’ attention this summer.
IED, which is based in New Dehli, India, has been unresponsive to EPA requests, Rosales said.
The EPA has decided to move forward with the cleanup and try to recoup the costs afterward, he said.
“We’ve sent requests for the property owners’ participation, but there’s been no response to those requests,” Rosales said. “Right now this is an issue we need to take care of as quickly as possible.”
With numerous large tanks full of corrosive acids, along with an estimated 4,000 smaller containers of paints, acids and other potentially dangerous chemicals, Rosales estimated the cleanup would not be completed until this summer.
Each material must be dealt with individually, Rosales said. Some can be disposed of in a landfill or a recycling center, but some of the more dangerous chemicals will need to be neutralized and transported to a special facility, he said.
“There’s a lot of materials to move, and it’s going to take a while,” Rosales said. “I think it’s safe to say that by this summer, the community can rest assured that it’s taken care of.”
City police, who had discovered the chemicals while investigating a possible burglary of the vacant building, first brought the chemicals to the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s attention.
The DEC quickly turned the matter over to the EPA, which has been working since August to get IED to handle or assist with the cleanup.
After the cleanup is complete, the EPA will likely seek compensation for the costs, Rosales said.
“We’ll probably look to recover the cost from the property owner once it’s finished,” he said. “The worst thing we can do right now is leave it where it is, where there’s a possibility of a fire starting, or people breaking in.”


Homer school vote Tuesday

Staff Reporter

HOMER — Truxton resident Karin Casolare said she will definitely be voting in favor of a $16.5 million renovation project for the Homer school district on Tuesday.
“I do a lot of subbing in the elementary school in Homer, and I’ve realized the heating there is not very good,” she said. “It’s very cold in some of the rooms there.”
Casolare was among six out of eight people randomly interviewed Thursday who say they will be voting in favor of the project, with the other two people having yet to decide.
They say a need for renovations, their pride for the district and the project’s no-tax increase all contribute to their support.
The project would improve security at all of the district’s school buildings, make the buildings more wheelchair accessible and make the facilities more modern and useful, Board of Education members said.
It would also improve access and safety to the schools through improvements to the pavement, entrances and bus drop offs, reduce energy costs through classroom improvements that include new high-efficiency windows and provide new playground equipment, among other work.
The proposed renovations are based on findings of a state-required building survey. The board of education appointed a facilities committee to work with the district and the district’s architect, Horseheads-based Hunt Engineers, to come up with the proposals.
The project will not impact the tax rate, as 90 percent of the funding will come from the state as regular building aid, and the other 10 percent will come from a combination of Expanding Our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) aid and school reserve money.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Tuesday. The vote will be held in Room 58 of Homer High School on Route 281.
Kurt Vogel, of Truxton, said he supports the project largely because it does not impact taxes.
“As it doesn’t affect the local taxes, I don’t see a downside to it,” Vogel said.

Hospital to unveil new Route 281 dialysis center Thursday

CORTLANDVILLE — Cortland Regional Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center will host an open house Thursday at a new dialysis center on Route 281 in Cortlandville. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., followed by a tour of the facility.
The center is owned by the Cortland Regional Medical Center, and will be operated by St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. St. Joseph’s operates four dialysis centers in the Syracuse area.
Tom Quinn, marketing director of Cortland Regional Medical Center, said an opening date for the new facility will not be set until the state Department of Health completes an inspection. Quinn hopes the center can be open as soon as the end of the month.