Broadcasting Boulder Creek
by Joe Shreve
Jan 31, 2013 | 2484 views | 8 8 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

“Broadcasting live from downtown Boulder Creek” could be a phrase soon heard up and down San Lorenzo Valley radios.

Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District directors could decide as early as Wednesday, Feb. 6, to pursue a low-power FM radio station license from the Federal Communications Commission.

According to Boulder Creek resident Paul Storm and George Galt, a board member and one of the architects of the proposal, the goal is to establish a low-cost, local radio station that would cater exclusively to San Lorenzo Valley communities.

“It would pretty much cover the entire valley, and that would be it,” Storm said. “They’re community-oriented, and they encourage local content.”

Storm said to submit a proper application, an organization must be prepared to show the FCC a plan of operations, fundraising and an oversight committee.

The station, if licensed, would not be allowed to sell advertising space and would have to be operated as a nonprofit enterprise.

“It’s got to be noncommercial,” Storm said. “(The FCC) wants local programming.”

According to the FCC’s website, low-power FM stations are authorized for noncommercial educational broadcasting only and operate with a maximum power level of 100 watts and an approximate 3.5-mile range.

According to Storm, a former rec district board member, the idea for a local radio station has been championed in the past, but he said politics in Washington, D.C., and pressure from radio conglomerates has kept the FCC from issuing any new licenses since 2000.

“No one’s been able to start (an LPFM station),” he said.

If the board decides to push forward, Storm said, the district would assume responsibility for the station’s license.

The cost to begin broadcasting, he added, would be surprisingly inexpensive.

“Really, the costs for running these are very low,” Storm said. “Ten thousand dollars would get you everything you’d need.”

He said such a station would ideally become a resource the whole community could use — including for broadcasting emergency alerts during storms, showcasing local musicians and allowing students a get hands-on experience in the broadcasting field.

An Oct. 15 deadline for organizations to submit applications means a decision from the board needs to happen soon, Storm said.

“There are so many beneficial sides to this, I could write a book on it,” Storm said. “If (the board) wants to do it, now’s the time to do it — the only question is does the community want it?”

The public meeting begins 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District annex at 13333 Middleton Ave., in Boulder Creek.

For information: 338-4144.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Ryan Porter
February 06, 2013
I attended the meeting and had some comments about this that I couldn't say there. I'll be brief.

1. 100 watts will give you significantly more range than 3.5 miles. A 100 watt transmitter will have people listening in from Santa Cruz to the south to perhaps Saratoga or Los Gatos to the north. I've spoken to people in Monterey on 50 watts before using my ham radio equipment.

2. The equipment needed doesn't need to cost more than $5000 if you ask some local ham radio operators to donate time and expertise to modify less expensive radios. I personally believe that $10,000 is an exaggeration of the equipment cost of such a station (although a dedicated building for it could cost more, potentially).

Just my thoughts, my source is five years of amateur radio experience.
February 02, 2013
sorry to disappoint you OMG.. the coalition folks had nothing to do with that comment!

I will say however, $10,000 is a lot of money.
Mo! Langdon
February 01, 2013
What a great idea!! Any chance y'all will stream it, so us ex-pats will be able to join in the fun?
February 01, 2013
Great idea for both emergencies, road closures, fun and information. Perhaps we could have some of our local professionals do some call in types shows, Physicians, Dentists, Psychologists, Teachers, Chiropractors, Pharmacists others in our community that would be willing to donate some time and effort for the community good. Perhaps we could also do something that would both inform and entertain some of our many teenagers locally with little or nothing productive to do in the community.

Just a few thoughts, there may also be some grants available locally.

Vicki Wees
February 01, 2013
Interesting idea. My dad was in broadcasting and started as a kid on his ham radio, helping broadcast about the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Would the approx. 3.5 mile range of the BC station leave out Felton, I wonder? Is there anything that could boost the range?
Belinda Creek
January 31, 2013
Wonderful idea. Just as long as the Boulder Creek Rec District keeps their personal politics out of it. Something they have had a difficult time with in the past.

If it would truly be a community station broadcasting, then I'm all for it.
January 31, 2013
Personal politics? It's a Rec Board. They all volunteer for free, and clearly, they must not do it for the glory.
February 01, 2013
You have got to be kidding. Negativity at all costs. That must be the Coalition folks at it again. Pathetic that they continue to piss on anything good done at the rec dept.

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