Former Credit Union CEO Launches Radio Station
Robert Jackson, former CEO of First Delta Federal Credit Union, is heading an effort to build a 50,000-watt radio station to serve as an educational and community resource for Mississippi Delta residents.
Jackson, who is also currently a Mississippi state senator, is heading up the radio effort as CEO of the Quitman County Development Organization Inc. That organization also sponsored First Delta when it opened as Quitman Federal Credit Union in 1981.
“We received notification in 2007 that the Federal Communications Commission was going to make some space available for a non-commercial radio station in our area and we were urged to apply,” Jackson said. “We applied and were approved, but another organization also applied and it took from 2007 to April 2014 for the FCC to settle all the conflicting claims.”
At 50,000 watts, Jackson said, the new station will strongly outshine competing nearby stations that tend to broadcast with only 5,000 to 10,000 watts. The station’s formats will consist of educational programming, including financial education, combined with gospel and blues music with a little country music thrown in, Jackson said. As a non-commercial radio station, the effort will rely on support from listeners in much the same way other public radio stations do, along with some corporate and foundation sponsorships.
Because of its public nature, Jackson said QCDO will partner with the nearby Cohoma Community College to run the station once it’s open. Managing the station will provide the college’s students with a practical way of learning and practicing new skills, Jackson added.
QCDO has determined the cost for building the station will be $265,000, and Jackson has launched fundraising efforts to pull the sum together. The organization’s current goal is $10,000 to fund startup costs, Jackson said, adding that he had put up a page on a peer-funding website called gofundme.com to meet the initial goal.
First Delta had grown to $7 million in assets and expanded to serve communities over a three county area by its 25th anniversary in 2006. However, it was revealed in 2009 that First Delta was the victim of a nine-year fraud perpetrated by one of its loan officers. At the time, Jackson said the person was known and trusted by everyone in the community. The fraud cost First Delta about $1million and NCUA conserved the credit union before merging it into the Shreveport, La., headquartered Shreveport Federal Credit Union in 2010.