"Community Radio" Gets Boost From Others In Already Crowded Market

By  | 

RENO, NV - There's no lack of voices on the local radio dial.

The Reno-Sparks community may be one of the best, if not over-, served markets around.

Counting both AM and FM, there are more than 40 stations vying for your attention.

It is a crowded dial. Hip hop to country and everything in between, religious, sports talk, news talk, public broadcasting. In fact, there's room for just one more. Literally just one frequency left on the FM dial

There's a format to fit it and, some say, an audience and a need waiting.

"Community radio is a third kind of radio," says local radio veteran Steve Funk, now a member of the Advisory Board of the Nevada Community Radio Project. "It's different from commercial radio or what we think of coming from NPR."

Think of it as community access radio. You've got an idea for a show. Here's your chance.

"People will be wanting to come out and create programs about their non-profit organization or about their favorite music or their perspectives on life or spirituality. Whatever it may be."

They'll even help you learn how to put it together.

A driving force behind the idea is the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, or PLAN, progressive voice that's been active for years in local issues. But a PLAN spokesperson says, the station is not necessarily being designed as a liberal voice.

"It can be open to debates, but like I said, non-partisan, non-confrontational. For the people, by the people."

So, if a fire breathing conservative or libertarian proposes a show, they'll be welcome?

As long as they remain non-confrontational, she says, meaning they expect conversation, not people yelling at each other.

But Stacey Shinn says it is aiming at some audiences they believe aren't sometimes heard.

"Low income, middle class folks, the LGBTQ community, people of color, immigrants" she says.

Surprisingly, a number of the stations currently on air in Reno are helping promote the idea, holding a Radio-thon Tuesday to raise money to build what might seem like a competitor. John Burkavage, general manager for Shamrock Communications, owner of four local stations, says the new station would not be a competitor.

"They're not going to be out selling commercial spots like we are," he notes. "It's a completely different kind of business. That's why it's not a threat to commercial radio. It's just good for radio."

And, he adds, good for the community.

Tuesday, his stations and a number of others in town will be devoting a lot of air time promoting the idea.

More information is available on the proposed station's Facebook page. You'll find a link here under "Hot Topics."

The proposed station has a name, KXNV, and a spot on the dial, 89.1, the last available frequency on the FM dial locally.

How its programming day should be filled may soon be up to you.