Radio licenses come in two flavors. Most of us are familiar with Commercial stations because that makes up the largest part of our radio dials. Commercial stations generally depend on advertising or “commercials” for their revenue.
The second flavor, NonCommercial Educational (NCE) is composed of stations that are geared toward a different kind of listener. The FCC had reserved the lower end of the FM radio spectrum, 88.1 to 91.9 FM for NCE stations. The most familiar of these NCE stations is NPR (National Public Radio) which largely depends on government funding, foundations and grants, and donations from listeners.
But there is a feisty subset group of NCE stations which generally depend more on volunteer effort and financial support from listeners. KXCR Radio is proud to be part of this group, which often call themselves “community radio” stations. Because they don’t depend on advertising, these stations are free to be more responsive to the diversity of people and issues in the community. They are not in danger of losing funding because they make a large advertiser, a leader, or a large organization angry. In short, they have more freedom to bring the community programs of music, talk, news, and social issues that may not be covered by other media. And many, like KXCR are listener supported, volunteer run, and community driven.
In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced their decision to assign the remaining available NCE licenses across the country.
A local non-profit, West Lane Translator (WLT) had been providing free television signals for the area since 1958. The all-volunteer organization quickly saw the value in securing the one available NCE license in our area. Carrying the four TV signals and ten other radio stations on their two towers visible across the Siuslaw River southeast of town, WLT recognized the unique opportunity of providing a community-focused and community- owned radio station.
Following a highly competitive application process which consumed the next few years, the FCC granted WLT a Construction Permit in October 2010 to build an NCE radio station. The station was assigned the frequency of 90.7fm with the call-sign KXCR, appropriately celebrating“Community Radio.”
The WLT Board of Directors formed a Radio Steering Committee to guide and oversee the effort to build the station. The Steering Committee held a number of community presentations and assembled a solid base of local volunteers dedicated to bringing KXCR on the air.
On February 22, 2012, a core of these dedicated volunteers filed as a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation in the State of Oregon in the name of KXCR Community Radio Partners (CRP). WLT now had the organization in place to make the great idea of a community radio station into a reality.
This core group of volunteers established the first KXCR Board of Directors. They established basic workgroups to research the equipment and engineering options, wrote grants, evaluated possible studio locations, established contacts with various institutions who may be able to assist, continued building community support, of both the financial and heartfelt kinds. To continue the effort to satisfy the FCC Construction Permit and get the station on the air, the Board of Directors now needed to gather more volunteers interested in working in the different areas of the radio station.
In August 2012, WLT and KXCR Board of Directors held a community event to elicit broader community support and identify willing volunteers interested in assisting in areas such as Technical, Fundraising, Programming, etc. About 50 attendees listened to presentations from station supporters and signed up for volunteering in various areas.
The first meeting gathering all the local people interested in producing a local radio show and KXCR programming was held at the Siuslaw Library Conference Room in October 2012. About 30 people squeezed in for an SRO first session to form a Program Committee. The first Fundraising meeting also occurred that month.
As a nonprofit corporation, KXCR’s fundraising efforts needed the IRS to approve the Board of Directors application for IRS 501(c) (3) status. The IRS approved KXCR’s 501(c) (3) tax-exemption on October 30, 2012.
This is what the KXCR studio looked like before any renovations were done. The Board’s studio location effort found the right building in the right location.
A group of investors secured the 9th Street house across from the Library, with room for conversion to a radio station with an on-air and production studio along with the other offices and spaces needed to accommodate a busy local station. It also had the vital direct sight lines for transmitting the studio program signal to the main transmitter equipment and antenna on WLT’s towers southeast of Florence.
The Board of Directors led the monumental effort to get the studio renovations designed, planned and approved by the city. Initial improvements were begun in March 2013 by a very hardy group of volunteers who removed out-of-code plumbing and crawled under the house to remove old moldy, crumbling fiberglass insulation. Contractors began the basic home improvements the end of April 2013. During the summer of 2013, the Florence Planning Department approved the plans for the studio; contractors completed the work on the building, ADA-compliant access, landscaping, etc. KXCR received the studio Occupancy Permit the end of November 2013.
December 2013 saw concerted efforts to finalize the KXCR policies, guidelines and procedures into a Station Handbook. Continuing work was being done by the Technical group to equip and wire the production and on-air studios. Computer systems and the programs to record, edit, and manage on-air content and the digital library were tested and finalized.
KXCR went on the air on Saturday, April 19, 2014 with a 24/7 grid of programming. Much of the initial programming came from national and affiliate sources. The following Tuesday, April 22, 2014, KXCR celebrated by holding a Day of Special Programming on Earth Day. Of 16.25 hours of special programming, 8.75 was live – music and interviews. The station hosted 12 live guests including 11 from the local community and George Mann, nationally known singer/songwriter.
KXCR sends a great big thank you to all the volunteers and supporters who have worked for more than 8 years to make the station a reality. It wouldn’t have happened without your help!