By Nancy Gohring
Feb. 28, 2013
Jabari Moketsi was a radio talk show host at WVGB until the struggling station was sold to a company that broadcasts classic rock. He had no interest in spinning songs by Boston and Bad Company, so he launched his own station, streaming online, to continue serving the African-American community.
He’s built up a national following in the four years since, with far more listeners in places like Houston and Seattle than the community he hoped to serve in Beaufort, South Carolina. That is why he, and thousands like him who broadcast online, are so excited by the opportunity to do something far more low-tech: broadcast over the air.
“I want to be on the dial because radio is free,” Moketsi said. “Having listeners in Houston or Seattle or New York, that’s good, but does that influence your community where you live? That’s what I’m about.”
Now he’ll have his chance. Later this year, the Federal Communications Commission will begin distributing licenses to registered nonprofit organizations that want to start low-power FM radio stations. The goal is to dot the country with 100-watt transmitters, primarily in urban areas, and restore some of the diversity lost to corporate consolidation of radio.