LAKE WYLIE -- While others were counting down the final seconds of 2007 on Monday, John Dolive endured a countdown of a different sort.
Lake Wylie's hometown radio station WYLI-FM 93.7, the low-frequency station set up to serve Lake Wylie in 2004, cut off the transmitter for good just prior to the new year.
Dolive, founder and president of the nonprofit station, said there wasn't one specific reason that led to the decision to sign off, but the limited coverage area and lack of support didn't help the situation.
"I have had a great time starting this station and keeping it going," Dolive said. "I started it because I believed Lake Wylie was a unique community with tightknit people who are interested in the lake. I thought that there could be some interest if the station could have been heard like we wanted it to, and it could have been."
Dolive and his board of directors initially envisioned a station that would reach more homes and cars in the community, but interference from a higher frequency station in Greenville made tuning into WYLI difficult for those listening more than a mile away from Buster Boyd Bridge.
"It just limited the coverage areas pretty much to the River Hills area," Dolive said.
Attempts were made to move the radio antennae from the River Hills Marina office building to a location on higher ground, but the Federal Communications Commission nixed the plan. That plan also would have required more money than the nonprofit station could spend, perhaps as much as $3,000 for the equipment alone.
"It's just not practical," said Lake Wylie Community Radio Project director Fred Freiberger.
For about a month, the station asked listeners for support to keep the station afloat but received little feedback. Dolive said the problem was not with the Lake Wylie community but with the station's ability to reach it and be heard.
"It just showed me that we weren't having a significant impact on the Lake Wylie community," Dolive said.
The decision was made to cut the signal New Year's Eve because Federal Communications Commission music fees were due Jan. 1, Dolive said.
The noncommercial station provided music and eight local newscasts per day, also providing seasonal programming for special events such as the annual fireworks display July 4 and the Christmas boat parade. While few people heard the station, the ones who did will miss it, Freiberger said.
"We appreciate all the folks in the community who have given us support," he said. "Not as much support as we would have liked, but some people have been very generous."
Even if more funding had been in place, it is unlikely the station could have stayed. The FCC recently approved the movement of a higher frequency station from Lexington, N.C., to Mooresville, N.C., which would further disrupt the Lake Wylie signal. Higher frequency stations are given preference over lower frequencies, and minimum distances between similar call numbers are required by the FCC, Dolive said.
"This has left us in a situation where we can't move the station," Dolive said.
The board members and volunteers helping with WYLI likely will not explore reinventing or reintroducing the station.
"With all these MP3 players and CD players people have in cars now, the demand for FM music seems to have waned," Freiberger said.