The Stranger: New Neighborhood Radio Stations to Apply for Licenses—After the Shutdown Ends, of Course

That right there is a literal map of how Seattle's media landscape may change in the near future, when a handful of brand-new community radio stations get up and running. Each little orange dot represents a different group that's planning to apply for a low-power FM (LPFM) radio license from the FCC. Way back in February, I wrote about new FCC rules allowing nonprofits and educational institutions to run LPFM stations in urban areas, each one broadcasting for a couple of miles at about the wattage of an ordinary lightbulb. The airwaves in Seattle should have room for about eight new stations, with more outside the city, and a diverse group of applicants have been preparing all year to fill those spots.

At a kickoff event this afternoon, applicants and supporters got together to celebrate and to explain what, exactly, they want to do with this new media. The proposals are exciting. OneAmerica, the immigrant advocacy organization, wants to run a station out of SeaTac with programming in English, Spanish, and Somali. Spokeswoman Rahwa Habte says not only would the community benefit from multilingual arts, culture, and news, and the station could be a training ground for new media makers, but also school districts are excited at the idea of being able to get info out to parents in the appropriate language.

Hollow Earth Radio, which broadcasts online, wants to go terrestrial so you can find 'em on the dial. "We've been running around knocking on doors and saying, "Hey, can we put a radio antenna on your roof?'" says Hollow Earth DJ and board member Forrest Baum. "And they say, 'What are you talking about?'" Once Hollow Earth explains what LPFM is, Baum says people often already have ideas for how to use it. "They say, 'Oh, yeah, we've been wanting to start a music program.' Or 'We have kids who are interested in doing that.'" [...]

Read the whole October 15, 2013 story by Anna Minard

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