Uncharacteristically of me, I spent an entire week conducting a feasibility study on a project, talking to people in the know, poring over boring data and going through more boring government regulations.
I seldom do this, because I usually just dive in to a new project or make a drastic, unexpected decision, most of which turned out pretty well (e.g. my decision to enter law school, taking the bar half-drunk most of the time, constructing a three-storey, six-bedroom house when I don’t even have a wife or even at least a wife-to-be, resigning from a comfortable high-paying NGO work to focus on private practice – well, I’m doing fine so far).
But this time, I wanted to be certain about it because I had to bring in four or five people who had to invest a sizable amount of money (I had depleted my savings constructing that house when I don’t even have a wife yet – wait, I already said that, sorry).
So for the last week, I talked to the manager of Radyo Natin Daanbantayan (through which my voice was first heard over the airwaves, when I was just 16 years old), radio technicians, including one who is now test broadcasting his own FM station, and radio broadcasters. I also pored over boring economic indicators and NTC regulations available over the net, all for the purpose of determining whether it would be feasible to establish a low-power (less than 1 kilowatt) FM station in midnortheastern Cebu.
Midnortheastern Cebu basically includes the towns of Catmon, Sogod, and Borbon. These towns are dead spots for FM transmission, because of the 600-meter (above sea level) mountains in Danao City and Carmen, which blocks FM signals from Cebu City from reaching the homes in these towns. 400-meter peaks also effectively blocks signals from FM stations in Bogo City. It would have been an ideal home for an FM station, because without an aerial antenna for a receiver, an FM station based in midnortheastern Cebu would be the only FM station which could be received.
Unfortunately, the economic indicators tell me that the station would not be able to pay for itself. The effective broadcast range of the station has only 60% of the population of a station with a similar power which is able to pay for itself. That station also has most of the towns in its range in the 1st or 2nd class and even a city; a 1-kilowatt FM station based in Sogod would reach Borbon, Sogod, Catmon, San Francisco, Tudela, Poro and Pilar – the most economically active town of which is San Francisco, a 3rd class town.
So Radyo Sogod (as I dubbed the project) would remain as a dream. Perhaps later, when midnortheastern Cebu would be a little better off in terms of economic activity such a project could be justified. But for now, it would just remain a dream.