by Joe Vaccarelli
April 17, 2013
Denver nonprofits will have the opportunity to expand their bandwidth and get into the radio realm this October.
In November 2012, the Federal Communications Commission passed a set of rules that made it very favorable for nonprofit entities in urban areas to be awarded some low-power FM stations, but timing is important.
About seven LPFM stations should be available in Denver, but applications for those stations are due Oct. 15 and could take up to three months to fill out. They should also be viewed by a lawyer.
“We see it as great opportunity to develop infrastructure. There’s lots of models low-power FM can go with,” said Sabrina Roach, a “doer” specializing in public interest media for Brown Paper Tickets.
Roach’s organization launched a Make Radio Challenge, and Roach was recently in Denver to try and make nonprofit entities aware of the opportunity. She also said there is $3.8 million available in public funding in Denver for nonprofits to get their station off the ground.
The FCC had not allowed LPFM stations to function in urban areas, but changed this past November.
“It’s a really unusual opportunity that the FCC gave us rules that are favorable to localism and nonprofits,” Roach said.
Prometheus Radio Project, a nonprofit that advocates for community radio stations, was instrumental in getting the FCC to change its policy on LPFM stations in urban areas.
Prometheus policy director Brandy Doyle said LPFM stations can reach from as little as 3 miles up to 10 and can be found anywhere on the dial where there is room.
“Radio can bring people into dialogue. There’s lots of synergy, people are working together and you can’t do that when people are on their own,” Doyle said.