Local FM radio coming to East County

Aside from the Internet, Radio is possibly the largest distributor of information available to the public. A normal FM station transmits at thousands of watts and on fairly level ground its signal can carry 75-100 miles. AM radio uses shorter frequencies and the signal can travel muchradio farther (hundreds of miles at night). These types of station are expensive to operate and therefore have a very limited ownership possibility.

Spurred on by local groups looking for a cheaper way to spread their message via the radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, introduced the Low Power FM (LPFM) radio service in January of 2000. The service is entirely commercial-free, and licenses were only granted to nonprofit organizations. Low power FM stations can operate at a maximum power of 100 watts, which generally provides solid coverage within a 3.5-mile radius and often reach radios up to 10 miles away.

Unfortunately, as the FCC was starting to license new stations, Congress put a halt to it after a lobbying campaign by corporate broadcasters, who claimed the tiny stations would interfere with commercial radio’s full-power signals. This new law radically reduced the opportunities available to LPFM stations.

In January of 2011 the Local Community Radio Act was signed into law freeing the FCC to license new low power FM stations. The FCC began accepting application in a one-time-only filling window ending November 14, 2013.

The FCC awarded a Construction Permit for operation of a LPFM on February 4, 2014 to a local non-profit, The Friends of Oakley – A Community Foundation. This new station will operate at 92.9 on your FM dial with the call letters KLSN-LP.

Once the FCC decides an applicant will get a license, the applicant must build its antenna and facilities within 18 months. Until the applicant finishes building the antenna, the applicant will have a “construction permit.” Once the antenna is finished, the applicant notifies the FCC and can obtain the license and begin broadcasting.

The Friends of Oakley – A Community Foundation will also hold the broadcast license for three years and provide governance with its sitting Board of Directors, with a subsidiary board appointed by the parent board.

The Liberty Union High School District has agreed to provide an antenna site at Freedom High along with a possible studio site and academic support.

Freedom High is also in discussions with WeatherBug about placing a weather station on the campus and becoming a KPIX weather reporting facility.


About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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