Are you all about religion, or do you broadcast other programs too?
WRMI is a privately-owned commercial shortwave station. We are not affiliated with any government, political or religious organization. We sell blocks of airtime to virtually anyone who wants to broadcast on shortwave. Many of these organizations are religious broadcasters, but we also relay government-owned stations such as Radio Slovakia International, Radio Prague, Radio Taiwan International and Radio Japan.
In addition, we air programs by independent producers who have programs with such varied subjects as jazz, blues, trova and Christian rock music, and news from Cyprus and Europe.
We also broadcast a variety of “DX” programs (programs of special interest to shortwave listeners) in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, and we air an in-house production called “Viva Miami” which includes interviews, tourist information, letters from listeners and more.
See the Programming page of our website (www.wrmi.net) for more information.
Are you a member of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters?
Yes, WRMI has been a member of NASB for many years, and our representatives have held many executive positions on the NASB board of directors.
The NASB is the association of privately-owned shortwave stations in the United States. It works closely with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
When is the hurricane season?
Officially, it runs each year from June 1 to November 30. However, the most hurricanes occur in the months of August and September. Nevertheless, they can occur anytime, even outside of the official hurricane season. The summer months are very rainy and lightning is very common.
How far is Okeechobee from Miami?
It’s almost a three-hour drive from Miami to the WRMI transmitter site, which is 20 miles north of the city.
From our site, it is about a 90-minute drive to Orlando to the Disney parks, Universal Studios, Sea World, etc. We are about an hour and 15 minutes from West Palm Beach, and less than an hour from Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, where there are nice Atlantic Ocean beaches. The nearest international airports to Okeechobee are West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
Is there someone always working at the transmitter site?
Yes, whenever we are on the air, which is 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year, there is always at least one employee on site. Sometimes there are many people on site. While most of the transmitter functions are computer-controlled, a human operator always turns them on and off, takes hourly transmitter readings, and he or she is on standby for any problem that might occur.
Is all of your programming simulcast on the Internet?
No, only the programming on 9955 kHz and our "System D" programming which goes out on various frequencies at different times. That can be heard on our website at www.wrmi.net
and on Shoutcast and TuneIn, among other sites. All other programming is broadcast only on shortwave frequencies.
How many people work at WRMI?
We currently have a staff of about 11 persons, mostly transmitter operators. Most of our employees have worked for Radio Miami International or Family Radio for 20 years or more, so they have lots of experience in shortwave broadcasting.
Do you receive any funding from the U.S. government?
No, in fact we pay taxes and fees to the U.S. government. We receive no subsidies from any governmental, political or religious organizations, and our company does not operate any other radio or TV stations or media of any sort. All of our funding comes 100% from the sale of airtime on WRMI.
Is WRMI located on a ranch?
Yes, we are on the Four K Ranch, which is a 660-acre (one square mile) cattle ranch owned by the J.C. Bass family of Okeechobee. We rent space on the ranch for our transmitter building, antennas and other facilities.
At any given time, there are as many as 200 cattle on the ranch. There is a variety of other wildlife, including alligators, snakes, deer, wild hogs, armadillos, skunks, many different kinds of insects and birds, etc. In the summer months especially, there is a lot of rain and the land becomes very swampy like the Florida Everglades.
We have four-wheel-drive vehicles to get to the various antennas around the property.
What is there to do in Okeechobee?
Okeechobee is a major tourist town, particularly in the winter when lots of tourist come down from the northern U.S. and Canada to enjoy the mild weather. Fishing on Lake Okeechobee is very popular.
Other popular activities include airboat rides, bird-watching and other wildlife viewing, camping, watching rodeos and participating in various fairs and festivals.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park has lots of flora and fauna to see, and the Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park commemorates a famous battle in the Seminole Wars of 1837.
What is the main industry of Okeechobee County?
Agribusiness is the major industry, principally dairy farms and beef cattle ranches. There are also many orange and other citrus ranches, as well as farms that specialize in potatoes and many other fruits and vegetables. Tourism is also very important, especially in the winter.
What is the Effective Radiated Power (ERP) of your transmissions?
WRMI has twelve 100-kilowatt transmitters and one 50-kilowatt transmitter and 23 antennas of different types. We'd have to know which transmitter and antenna were being considered. For example, a 100 kW transmitter operating into an antenna with 10 db gain would have an ERP of 1 million watts. A transmitter operating at 50 kW into a 20 db gain antenna would also have an ERP of 5 million watts ERP.
How much does airtime cost on WRMI?
Since there are no accurate audience figures for the shortwave audience, shortwave is not a very commercialized medium. It is difficult to sell spot commercials for products or services on shortwave due to the lack of audience statistics. Therefore, we sell blocks of airtime to organizations who produce their own programs and want to reach a wide audience in large parts of the world, and these blocks are quite inexpensive. Airtime can cost as little as $60 to $100 per hour, depending on how long the program is and how frequently it is broadcast. This makes shortwave radio accessible for any kind of organization -- even for individual producers.
Do you ever have fires on the ranch?
Yes, brush fires around the property are common. Sometimes they are caused by mylar balloons floating in from theme parks in Orlando and Tampa. They touch one of the wires in the antenna field and catch on fire, dropping to the ground and causing a brush fire. WRMI has a rolling water tank (called the “water buffalo”) which can be connected to one of our trucks and taken around the ranch to put out fires.
Do you still have an office in Miami?
Yes, our Fontainebleau Boulevard office still exists, and we record local Miami-area groups’ programs at our studio there weekly. However, most of our administrative functions have been transferred to the Okeechobee site, where we have much more space. (The transmitter building is 16,000 square feet.)
Are there hotels in Okeechobee?
In the city of Okeechobee, there are chain hotels such as the Best Western, Holiday Inn Express, Travelodge and Hampton Inn. There are also many small independent motels.