Imagine live, local music and in-depth news and analysis about the issues that matter to you most brought to you by independent local reporters. Imagine local radio by Bellingham, for Bellingham. It’s not just a dream, it’s already happening!
Earlier this year the Bellingham art collaborative Make.Shift received one of only a handful of licenses granted by the FCC to nonprofits dedicated to broadcasting community-based, non-commercial programming at up to 100 watts.
The new licenses are a direct result of the Local Community Radio Act, which was passed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2013 after intense pressure from communities who said they weren’t being adequately represented by commercial stations in their markets.
Radio stations like KMRE in Bellingham and KAVZ in Van Zandt are already doing good work providing niche and demographic-specific content like the Chuckanut Radio Hour. But Bellingham still has a real need for broad and objective public affairs programming. KVWV FM will strive to fill that void by providing a voice to underrepresented communities and non-profit organizations, and creating a medium for civic dialogue in a way no other format can offer.
KVWV 94.9 FM is already streaming live at KVWV.org and is well on its way to becoming its own independent and self-sustaining entity. However, it still needs $30,000 in start-up funds to purchase necessary operating equipment such as a transmitter, microphones and mixing boards. The deadline for the station to be up and running is August 2015. After that, the annual operating costs will be a mere fraction and funded primarily through grants.
If successful, KVWV FM will reach a radius of 5 to 7 miles, which includes most of Bellingham and significant chunks of Whatcom County.
There’s no doubt that a free and independent press contributes to the health of our democracy. Now Bellingham has what could very well be once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim a part of the public airwaves and make it our own. In an age when fewer and fewer corporations control our news outlets, the scope of content we consume is getting smaller and smaller. Community radio will help bridge the gap and strengthen the fabric of our community. I encourage you to donate to KVWV’s start-up cost fundraiser so they can get up and running by the deadline of August 2015.
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