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FCC approves Sequim radio
For updates on a tsunami alert or for some good music from the 1940s, '50s and '60s,
Sequim residents soon will be able to tune their radios to 91.5 FM.
Board members from Sequim Community Broadcasting, a local nonprofit, have done the legwork to get a community radio station in Sequim. Although they faced hardships in the beginning, Rick Perry, Keith Burfitt and new board member Linda Perry are poised to go "on air."
"We have received approval from the (Federal Communications Commission) on our application, so in the U.S. we are all set," said Rick Perry, who is not related to Linda. "However, because of our proximity with Canada the application must be reviewed by their agency as well. We expect word back soon, but who knows."
Initially, the Sequim radio application conflicted with an application made by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Port Townsend. But the two groups, along with other proposed community or public radio stations in the area, worked out their coverage areas so each could have a viable application to the FCC.
"Those talks really worked out great for us, it made it so we could all have a piece of the pie," Perry said. "The FCC received more than 3,700 applications at about the same time and we were one of the 600 or so that were accepted."
The FCC hadn't taken noncommercial educational station applications for years and isn't expected to again for a while, which is why when it temporarily accepted applications the requests came flooding in.
"The noncommercial educational status is a good one for us since we are a community station," Perry said. "Other stations like NPR are under the same classification but are very different because they are public radio, not community."
Perry said the difference comes from the stations' investment in the local community.
"Sequim is a pretty involved community and we are excited to tap into that," Perry said. "We've just had a public meeting to gather volunteers, talent and the impression of the community and as we move forward with a construction permit, we will create a citizens advisory committee to guide our development."
Perry said there is no sense in creating a community station if the people are not on board.
"We will advertise for the formation of the group," he said. "But for now, we're just waiting on Canada."
Sequim Community Broadcasting will be unable to sell advertisements but can have companies or organizations sponsor programs, much like NPR. Perry hopes the income begins to offset the board's personal investment into the project, but for now he is just happy to have initial approval.
"Once Canada gives us their approval, we are all set to begin buying the equipment," Perry said. "There are three things you can't scrimp on, the transmitter, the antenna and the lead between the two."
Perry recently went to a National Association of Broadcasters meeting to learn more about the available technology.
"There were a lot of options," he said. "We think we will start with some of the best technology out there, short of going high definition, which I think would be a bit premature."
To learn more about Sequim Community Broadcasting, visit www.scbradio.com.