KWNK providing community-run radio on FM dial

Published: Feb. 19, 2020 at 10:59 AM PST
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KWNK 97.7 FM is a free-form, non-commercial public radio station made up of volunteers from Northern Nevada.

"What we really want to do is make sure that we have a place where artists and everyone in the community can feel like they're heard," said Annie Saunders, KWNK's membership program director.

They have about eighty rotating DJ's on staff, who each get an hour to air whatever they want; creating a diverse list of genres and music.

"There's not any kind of commercialized program format," said 'Roots Junction' DJ Jim Davidson. "Everyone comes in and does their own thing."

"And we're always trying to focus on playing local artists and promoting the local scene," added general manager Tom Snider.

It all came about thanks to the Reno Bike Project. They applied for a permit under the Local Community Radio Act, which opened up low-powered FM stations to community groups and student-run stations. The Reno Bike Project teamed up with the Holland Project to help find unique content, and then reached out to Wolf Pack Radio to get the station off of the ground.

"It's an area that traditionally that has been unexplored and untapped in this community," said Britt Curtis, the executive director of the Holland Project.

began back in 2017 with 12-hour programming from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., but expanded to 24 hours back in October. That was thanks to local donors and businesses, with over 500 supporters chipping in at least $5 per month.

"The Reno community is amazing. That's the reason we all wanted to do this is you see all of these amazing people who are so invested and so close," added Snider. "And having a community radio station is just a great way to really amplify that voice and add to that."

It's not just a place for musicians to be heard, but also a chance for aspiring disc jockeys to get experience.

"It's just a cool thing to be involved with, and the barrier for entry is just about none," said Saunders. "We're excited to help people who want their voice on the air."

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020