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Valley Public Radio Staff
Business & Economy
Mon March 10, 2014
Could Delano's Former VOA Radio Station Become A Homeless Shelter?
For over 60 years, a mammoth cluster of radio towers and transmitters just west of Delano beamed the Voice of America network to shortwave listeners across the globe.
Now according to the trade publication Radio World, the property could soon get a new use as housing for the homeless.
Built in 1944, the 500,000 watt station turned off its transmitters for the last time in 2007, a victim of government cutbacks and rapidly changing technology.
As James E. O'Neil of Radio World reports the Marine Corps initially showed some interest in acquiring the site, but those plans didn't materialize. Now, government regulations require the GSA to offer the land to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for use as what O'Neil describes as a "shelter for the homeless."
Marine Corps interest waned; after that, GSA was legally obligated to offer up the property to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for possible use as shelter for the homeless. However, as of early December 2013, HUD had made no move to acquire it. My check in mid-January with the San Francisco GSA office, which has jurisdiction over the property, revealed that the window was still open for interested parties to acquire it for homeless shelter purposes. If there were no takers by mid-February, the property would be offered for sale to the public. However, one last check with GSA shortly before publication revealed that the invitation to organizations that might wish to use the Delano facility to house the homeless had been extended until late April.
In 2008, Radio World detailed the history of the site, and the unlikely role in played in the test of the first atomic bomb in 1945.
The Kern County-Central Valley Amateur Radio Club also posted this tour of the facility to its website before the Delano site closed in 2007.