November 2021 Issue  
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Lightfest Sign
Lightfest Adds Soundtrack
Wayne County, Michigan, employs radio to direct thousands through mega light display.
WAYNE COUNTY, MI:  The amazing light display that greater Detroit area residents enjoy each year is adding sound. “LightFest,” the wattage wonderland that features 50 animated displays and more than 100,000 lights, in 2021 will include a radio station as well. The RadioSTAT system the County Park Department obtained for the task will transmit the special broadcast on 1640 AM to car radios in a 3-mile radius from the event entrance, so people who are lined up can receive recorded and live updates. The Department plans to employ the radio system for other big events around the year, as well.

The “Lightfest” event begins November 18th and runs 6-10 PM nightly Wednesdays through Sundays – except Christmas – to the end of the year.

Parks Department spokesman Steve Winkelman tells The Source that the pandemic has pumped up the popularity of the event, which attracts thousands of cheery attendees annually. The radio service directs drivers to the entrance and through a 5-mile course that snakes along through various Wayne County parks down Hines Drive in suburban Westland, Michigan. Due to increased wait times plus the 30-minute time required to see all the displays, motorists need to be apprised of details – especially the current wait time. Helpful info includes where to find restrooms, concessions and other services.

Churches, nonprofits, park departments and a variety of venues and events employ a rental version of the radio system “EventCAST.” or the shorter range InfOspot for similar applications.
Santa characters "bike thru the lights" in advance of Lightfest's official opening on November 18.
Then there is the location of that special mailbox where you can drop off your letter for Santa. Perhaps the big guy will even make an appearance on the broadcast this year, if he is having a light night.
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Information Radio Stations is a generic term synonymous with Travelers Information Stations (TIS), Highway Advisory Radio Stations (HAR) / Highway Information Systems & Low Power Radio Stations (LPR). Operation of the stations is governed by FCC Part 90.242 Rules. A FCC license is required. Information Radio Stations may be fixed or portable. Subcomponents may include transmitter, antenna and ground system, digital voice player, wattmeter, cabinet with conventional or Corbin locks, lightning arrestors for RF, power and telephone lines, coaxial cable. Most stations employ black maximized antennas to discourage ice accumulation and security measures to prevent unauthorized program access. Options include synchronization, battery backup, solar power, remote programming by local, network or telco, multi-station audio distribution via RF or LAN / WAN or wireless network.