Friday, April 22, 2016

Another Part 15 AM station becoming a LPFM station

The following is from an article in the Denton Record-Chronicle, newspaper in Denton Texas. The follow excerpts highlight the references of a Part 15 AM station which is soon to become a licenced FM station...The full article can be read here:

Wavemakers find their frequency
Radio lovers poitised to launch local nonprofit FM station
By Lucinda Breeding |  Features Editor
Published: 21 April 2016 08:19 AM

For Denton residents Peter Salisbury, Erin Findley and Sashenka Lopez, there’s something charming about terrestrial radio. The three are on the board of Real Waves Radio Network, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that will operate a new Denton radio station: KUZU-FM (92.9).They say they aren’t opposed to online radio. There’s just something about twisting a knob — or pressing a “scan” button — and hearing music and voices cut through the static.

“It’s kind of romantic,” said Salisbury, chairman of the KUZU board. “For me, it’s always been terrestrial radio versus online radio, .....There’s a romantic quality about terrestrial radio. There are these waves, vibrations. And you can be part of projecting these vibrations and someone’s on the other end picking it up. There’s this intimacy to it that’s fascinating.”....

Life on the AM band

Salisbury has ... a handful of volunteers have been running a tiny AM radio station, 1670 AM, since 2009. “In 2009, I came across this regulation that the FCC has: Part 15,” Salisbury said. “Under Part 15 regulations, you can broadcast without a license on [the] AM [band]. But with that, they only allow you to broadcast 0.1 watt.”

Radio wattage has to do with the power output of a transmitter. Dallas nonprofit station KNON-FM (89.3) broadcasts at 55,000 watts — a big territory. Part 15 regulation gives operators a short reach, and doesn’t require operators to have a license.
“It really only allows you a few city blocks,” Salisbury said of 1670 AM. “That’s a nice neighborhood station. If everything’s right with your station — you have grounding and an antenna — it can go a little further than that.”
“AM radio goes pretty much a mile or less than a mile,” Findley added.

Even a short reach was enough for local radio programmers, who broadcast around the clock using a mix of automation and regular programs. Salisbury and Nick Foreman host Murderation, which focuses on 1960s ska rock and Jamaican music.
Lopez and Julie McKendrick host the longest-running show on 1670 AM, Fake Parts, a show that is a lot like listening to mix tapes assembled around themes or moods. The late musician and visual artist Nevada Hill and Denton musician Sarah Ruth Alexander hosted a show that threaded pop culture, music and politics together.

.....“They finally approved the Local Community Radio Act of 2010,” Salisbury said. “They made LPFMs a legit thing. That was right after the time Erin and I started doing 1670 AM, the Part 15 [station]. We didn’t even realize what was going on with the LPFMs at that time.”

Findley said they were satisfied with their AM radio station. They were promoting local voices and broadcasting local music as part of their programming. It scratched their itch for indie radio.
“We would challenge our listeners, you know?” she said. “We invited them to come up with ideas. Even though we don’t have a huge radius of listeners, every once in a while we’d have a show and air it online, too.”
“We felt like it was the legal way that we could provide a showcase,” Salisbury said. “You could do pirate radio. But if they catch you, you’re never going to be able to do anything in radio again. The Part 15 radio was a way to do what we love without risking that.”...........

A signal boost

Salisbury said he, Findley and Lopez were happily plugging away on 1670 AM when Todd Urick, who works with an organization called Common Frequency, contacted them. Common Frequency is a nonprofit organization that gives free and affordable assistance to new community and college radio stations.

“He told us about the LPFM, and he told us that with what we’d been doing already with 1670, we’d kind of be a perfect organization to try and culminate a happening for Denton,” Salisbury said. “From then on, we were in close communication for the next two years. He helped us through the application process, did the engineering. And it’s a super great asset to have him on our side with Common Frequency.”...

The full article can be read here:

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