“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.