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Television show provides inspiration for Youngstown station

YOUNGSTOWN – You might remember the folksy tone of radio station KBHR-AM on that quirky early 1990s television program “Northern Exposure.”

It was based in fictional Cicely, Alaska, but it something very similar may be coming to a village near you – Youngstown, to be exact.

YNY River Radio is set to hit the airwaves – via the Internet – in the first quarter of 2015, according to Aaron Dey, one of the project’s principals.

It will be headquartered at 431 Main St., in a storefront donated by building owner Rick Lohr, nestled between sculptor Susan Geissler’s studio and the Youngstown Village Diner.

“We want people to be walking by on the street and see this radio station (in operation), just like on ‘Northern Exposure,’ ” Dey said. “The only thing we don’t have yet is the moose.”

He added that the airwaves “will be open to everyone. We’re just trying to promote this area.”

Dey said he plans podcasts and live, streaming shows, and webcasts with video as well as audio feeds. He’d like to include fishing and farming reports, and programs that reflect the area’s rich history and varied musical offerings, as well as news of community events and tourism information.

“This is for the entire Lower Niagara River region,” he said. “Eventually, we’d like to see it expand to include Niagara-on-the-Lake, our neighbors right across the river, too.”

Dey said some local college students studying broadcasting who will be volunteering their time, and one, in particular, is interested in sports, so listeners should expect at least one sports-oriented program.

“We are looking for programming. If anyone has any ideas on what they’d like to see or if they want to participate,” said Dey, who may be contacted at aaron@ynyriverradio.com.

“We’d like to see an acoustic night, where musicians – and we have many of them in our area – could come in and play live, too,” he added.

Dey said the radio station idea originated with Lohr and Sue McNaughton, longtime Youngstown supporters.

“It’s become kind of a Dory-esque effort, with Gary and Elizabeth Beaty and Jane (Dey’s wife) and myself,” he said, naming his partners in the Dory Trading Post at 435 Main St.

Dey said that he is financing the start-up, bolstered by the donation of space by Lohr, but that he hopes it will soon become self-sustaining.

“We’re trying to make Youngstown what it should be – it’s been asleep too long,” he said. “This is the perfect area for commerce. And there are a lot of things to talk about and not just in Youngstown. This will be an information place, where people can listen in and hear great music and learn some things, too.”