The Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District will host a pair of meetings next week to discuss with members of the community plans that could eventually lead to a dog park and a 100-watt FM radio station in the town.
The public is invited to a 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, June 4 with the idea of creating a team of residents to explore the possibility of creating a dog park in Boulder Creek, District Manager Hallie Greene said.
“We’re basically recruiting people for this task force,” Greene said. “Anyone who’s interested in being on the task force or committee (can serve).”
She said that the team, if formed, would explore potential parcels of property for the park and gauge public support for the project, while preparing an official proposal to present to the district’s board at a future meeting.
“It’s been something talked about for a long time,” Greene said, adding that while a dog park was not officially in the district’s plans, she hoped the task force would generate interest in the project.
Radio SLV on the way?
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5, the day after the meeting about the potential dog park, the district’s board of directors will vote on whether or not to pursue the purchase of a 100-watt FM radio license with the goal of creating a locally focused nonprofit radio outlet.
The district has been entertaining the notion of a radio station in Boulder Creek since February, when the board voted to pursue a low-power FM radio station licenses from the Federal Communications Commission.
Since then, Greene said, the plan has evolved, as the rights to a more powerful noncommercial education (NCE) FM license has been offered by Common Frequency — a Davis-based non-profit organization that supports launching grassroots radio stations — for sale directly to the district, eliminating the need to participate in a lengthy and uncertain application process for the low-power station.
Should the board vote in favor of going forward with the project, she said, it would appoint a negotiator to determine the final cost of obtaining the broadcast license.
According to Paul Storm, one of the original proponents of the low-power FM project, an NCE license is an exciting opportunity, as many of the restrictions of low-power FM broadcasts do not apply to NCE stations.
“They’re not limited in power, they have more benefits,” he said. “They’re a little bit higher level a station than low-power.”
Storm said that while a low-power FM station is legally only permitted a maximum broadcast power of 100 watts, an NCE station’s wattage begins at 100 watts, and can be increased from there.
He described the potential station as being comparable to those operated by college radio stations and, locally, 88.9 KUSP FM in Santa Cruz.
“It’s a very exciting prospect,” Storm said, adding that a more powerful signal would give a potential station priority against interference from competing broadcasts and the possibility to broadcast syndicated content as well as local content.
According to Greene, one of the conditions of the NCE license is that the operator must begin broadcasting by August, making time of the essence. If the deal were to move forward, she said, the district would petition the FCC for an extension.
Storm said that the while the seller’s $12,000 asking price for the rights to the NCE license was higher than the cost of the permit process for the original low-power FM plan, the benefits would be greater and be seen sooner.
“There’s more flexibility,” he said. “It increases the price a little bit, but you have a lot less risk.”
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