A new community radio station plans to be on the air providing a blend of music and talk for a northeastern stretch of the city by early 2015.
Oak City Media, the nonprofit behind the low-power FM (LPFM) station known as 101.9 WKRP, wants to provide listeners with a mix of entertainment and hyperlocal information that commercial stations cannot because of their larger audiences and reliance on advertising dollars.
An LPFM station has more freedom to provide local information, whether it’s an in-depth weather report or the latest on community events.
“Hopefully the people of Northeast Raleigh will see it as a resource, and hopefully they will help in any way they can,” said D.P. McIntire, executive director of the group
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LPFM stations are non-commercial stations with broadcast areas of several miles. The stations must seek approval from the Federal Communications Commission to operate.
The new station’s call sign will be familiar to viewers of the popular CBS sitcom, “WKRP in Cincinnati,” which aired in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The organizers, fans of the show, asked for the sign never expecting to get it. But they found out they did the same day federal approval came through – one of many strokes of good luck they’ve enjoyed, said McIntire.
After Oak City applied last fall, the nonprofit group this spring secured a permit from the FCC to start the station – a far quicker turnaround than expected. That’s left them to raise thousands of dollars to pay for needed equipment in shorter time frame than they anticipated.
The station launched an online fundraising campaign earlier this month at kickstartkrp.com, with a goal of $15,000.
The station will have a broadcast radius of several miles, reaching listeners between the Beltline and I-540, from roughly Falls of Neuse Road to Old Milburnie Road. The content also will stream online at 1019wkrp.org.
McIntire said the details of the station’s format would depend on the programming volunteer DJs are interested in. He expects the station will play primarily music during the day, with evenings and weekends for specialty programming. The musical programs could include Top 40, dance music, oldies, and punk.
Oak City Media grew out of a local amateur sports league McIntire and others ran for two decades. As the organizers aged and realized their sporting days might be coming to end, they turned their attention to radio, an existing interest for several members.
McIntire said the the station would like to work with other community radio stations. Several groups are waiting to hear which station will receive a construction permit to broadcast from another LPFM frequency, 106.5.
Little Raleigh Radio, another community radio station, has been streaming online for several months. Jacob Downey, a co-founder of the station, said he does not expect to hear from the FCC until this fall at he earliest.
But, they’re moving forward with other plans, including new programming, broadcasting live from the Hopscotch music festival and exploring sharing on-air time with other groups interested in the 106.5 spot.
“We’re open to working with other community groups to have a voice through local radio,” Downey said.