Little Raleigh Radio – Low Power FM with Big Plans


I recently attended a talk by the Kelly Reid and Jacob Downey, the team behind Little Raleigh Radio, a low power FM community radio station that has recently gotten up and running in Raleigh, NC. The station recently began broadcasting online from 4-8 pm each day.  Eventually, the plan is to broadcast on the FM dial, once the station hears back from the FCC about when the construction permit for an LPFM transmitter on frequency 106.5 will be granted.

I found the talk to be inspirational, in that Reid and Downey started out by talking about the hidden challenges of starting a project like making a community local radio station.  When they talked about the infinite to do list, and trying to balance the project, life, and work I could identify with these challenges in my current work in developing my project Food Font (which is about 70% there now.)

After the challenges, they talked about hidden resources, and about all the volunteers and community members who have showed up at just the right time.  They showed images of an installation they did of the radio name written in a microphone cord in the window of Design Box, an image of the free used radio sound board they got from someone from the micropower radio station in Carrboro, NC, and about doing a Kickstarter. (“If anyone ever tells you to do a Kickstarter, make sure you really think about it.  It is SO much work and was our focus for almost a year,”  Reid said about their experience.

The final topic was hidden rewards, where they talked about volunteers, and their mission to make a station that “sounds like Raleigh.”  Due to the changes from the Low Power Act of 2010,  it  became accessibile for small micropower stations to exist legally, and the paperwork they said was the easiest step of the project so far.

Eventually they plan to broadcast live 12 hours each day by the time they’re able to put up their antennae and transmitter.  They are currently working to increase airtime as they put systems and support in place.

Their mission gives a great perspective of what the station sounds like:

“We think the time is right to begin the barn raising of a hyper local community radio station. We want growth you can hear. We want to satisfy listeners’ hunger for fresh audio content by building a place that is an outlet for celebrating, debating, sharing and experiencing where we are. Local is about what is 2 blocks over and 6 blocks down. Little Raleigh Radio is about hearing the community you belong to.”

They ended the talk by talking about the variety of DJs, shows, and styles on the station so far, and showed some pictures of current DJs and the station.


About the Author

KbaumlierKristen Baumlier’s work spans the full spectrum of interdisciplinary media, including performance, interactive installation, video and audio works.View all posts by Kbaumlier →

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