Friday, February 22, 2008

Community Radio on KPOO, Ozcat, and perhaps People of Progress

A few recent articles on community radio stations highlight the great variety of stations out there with very specific programming philosophies for their local listeners.

KPOO 89.5 FM San Francisco
BeyondChron did a piece on low-power community radio station KPOO 89.5 FM and its recent benefit fundraiser. According to the article, KPOO was "the first Black-owned, noncommercial radio station west of the Mississippi when the low powered frequency kicked off in 1973..." KPOO's website states, "KPOO gives voice to the concerns of low income communities in San Francisco. Founded by Poor People's Radio, Inc., KPOO's ongoing mission has been to open the airwaves to the disenfranchised and underserved." They air a variety of music and public affairs programming and according to their website, "KPOO was the first Bay Area station to play rap, salsa, and reggae music. In 1983 KPOO was the first station on the west coast to broadcast an 'all rap' show. KPOO was also first to air Irish, Palestinian, Filipino, gay, veterans, women's and prisoner rights programming." Impressive, but I always wonder how we can really know which station was the first to air certain songs, bands, and genres of music, as many make similar claims.

Ozcat Radio-1670AM in Vallejo, California
Ozcat Radio is an all volunteer non-profit, non-commercial station playing indie and local artists. They say they are "eclectic and free-form" and that they help support/promote community events and non-profits. They are applying for a non-commercial FM license for a 100 watt station, but currently operate with low power on AM using a "...1-watt legal unlicensed low-power AM antenna..." The station was founded in 2006 by musician David Martin and his wife after their own frustrations about the difficulty of getting Martin's music played on commercial radio. According to their website, "The Martins decided to...create a company where artists would find encouragement, assistance and local radio airplay..."

Redding, California Community Radio in the Pipeline?
A Redding nonprofit People of Progress (which began 30+ years ago as a food co-op) applied for an FM license during the Fall 2007 application window and some folks in the community are optimistic, while others wonder about its evidenced by the comments attached to these articles in the local press.

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