KMUZ, new FM, launches in Salem, OR


After more than three years of planning community radio KMUZ (88.5 FM) is broadcasting live from its studio in Salem, Oregon. It has been running short test broadcasts and live-streaming on for several months. However, noon 12/17 marked the station’s official debut. The station is on the air 24/7, although at present most hours are filled by automated music. The station airs with 32 watts at 793 feet HAAT.

The all-volunteer radio station reaches Turner, Stayton, Sublimity, Monmouth, Independence, Salem and Keizer, OR. Organizers hope to gradually fill available hours with local music, news and talk programming, plus prerecorded programs by local contributors and others. About 60 DJs have been trained, and more are needed.

Scheduled programs include Roots Rock Reggae (Classic Reggae), “Zero Hour” house music; “Outside the Juice Box” with “Michelle the Sugar Plum Mama” discussing unconventional approaches to pregnancy, childbirth and parenting; Western swing music hosted by Randy Hilll; eclectic American music with Chris Lehman; and “Paranormal Radio with Suzie.”

For the past three years, the station’s supporters have struggled to raise money to get on the air. Several private loans, including one for $10,000, made it possible to meet a crucial FCC deadline in August, reported the Oregon Statesman.

Major expenses included buying and erecting a 90-foot antenna. Studio space — a suite of six small offices and a reception area — has been donated by a local business. The station’s operating budget is $1,000 to $2,000 per month, said volunteer Dave Hammock, with income close to the lower figure. Like other volunteers interviewed, he was hopeful that sponsorships, grants and donations would pick up. Now that the signal is live, that may just happen.

RBR-TVBR observation: As much as we all talk about Internet radio being the way of the future, here’s a good example of where the streaming alone didn’t cut it. The station will train locals to run the board and is inviting them to get on the air. Yes, music discovery is found more online today, but there are exceptions—and community radio stations/LPFMs make up a good chunk of the stations providing it.