1. How is this different than KRCC, our public radio station?
KRCC is a wonderful and valued community asset. KCMJ and KRCC will actually work as partners to enrich the city’s media landscape. Community Radio at KCMJ will do the things KRCC cannot do. KRCC has the resources to do things KCMJ cannot do, such as offering expensive national programs like National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. KRCC is owned by Colorado College, so its programming must respect the College’s reputational and financial interests.
Community Radio will have its own benefits. Because it is volunteer run, and therefore has a much smaller budget, KCMJ can be more adventurous and take greater risks. There will be less concern about offending major corporate underwriters, and less concern about how many listeners a given program has. We can afford to take a chance on new ideas, and to offer programs in the public interest that may not attract a lot of underwriting dollars. While KRCC serves all of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, KCMJ can, and always will, focus just on the Pikes Peak region.
The good folks at KRCC do not see KCMJ as a competitor. In fact they are helping us launch, and we are participating in KRCC’s pledge drive to help them meet their fundraising goals. We think there is room for both public radio and community radio in a city of half a million people.
2. What kind of programming will KCMJ have?
The community actually gets to determine this. In the organizational and planning meetings we’ve had over the last two years (which are always open to everyone), we’ve heard there is a lot of interest in public affairs, education, local news and music you won’t hear on other stations. Given this input, we think KCMJ may program a pretty even mix of music and talk. On the music side, we intend to give highest priority to programs that feature local music. On the news side, we hope to provide what other local mass media do not. In the public affairs arena, our intention is to bring information and opinion to the airwaves that will result in a better-informed, more engaged public.
We will have some syndicated programs, bringing you interesting and diverse perspectives and topics from around the world that will delight you. Our intention, however, is to feature as much locally originated programming as possible. We are only limited by what facilities we have for producing the programs, and by who steps up to produce and host programs. If there is a host and producer interested in creating a show, very little stands in the way of that program going on the air.
3. How will KCMJ cover its costs?
Our startup budget is roughly $20,000. We’re attempting to raise these funds through our initial membership/crowdfunding campaign. Our annual budget will depend largely on how much this community is willing to support the effort. Community Radio station budgets vary from $3,000 to over $350,000 per year. We hope to cover our operating expenses through annual memberships of $25, business/organizational memberships of $200, donations above and beyond this, and some grant funding.
4. What happens if KCMJ doesn’t reach its $20,000 crowdfunding goal?
The funds raised on our Indiegogo campaign will be available to us even if we don’t reach our goal by the November 13 deadline. If we haven’t reached that goal, we’ll continue to fundraise, get very busy applying for grants, and build the station as funds available permit. We can continue to operate on a shoestring, out of a basement, if necessary – though we don’t anticipate that being the case.
5. Will KCMJ have a political agenda?
The team organizing this station came together motivated by the desire to have what local radio was not delivering. That includes access to more diverse viewpoints. Since today progressive perspectives are underrepresented, we will endeavor to provide progressive-oriented programs. Currently there are local radio stations offering politically conservative viewpoints, so we don’t see a need to develop more such programs.
However, we have considered this question carefully and are committed to giving all perspectives a voice. Our vision is for KCMJ to be our city’s virtual “town square.” This means we’ll strive to have all sides of issues represented in our public affairs programming. We intend to be more inclusive, more diverse, and provide a microphone to those who have traditionally been denied a voice. We intend to carefully identify and differentiate between what is “news” and what is “opinion.”
6. How do I get a program onto KCMJ?
If you wish to host and/or produce a program, just let us know. The best place to start is by becoming a member. Then subscribe to our Volunteers email list. Submit a program proposal form (LINK), come to a Program Committee meeting to get acquainted and get into the process. We’ll help you with training and access to the equipment needed to get your show on the air! Programs from unheard or under-represented voices; programs that build community; programs that engage, empower and/or inform our listeners; and programs with a local focus are especially welcome.
7. KCMJ has a low-power FM license. What does that mean?
Our FCC permit is to broadcast at 93.9 FM with a 100-watt transmitter from the vicinity of South Academy Blvd. and Jet Wing Drive. That signal will travel about 5 miles. This means many in our area will be listening on the internet at www.kcmj.org. 50% of the people listening to the radio today do so over the internet, and we expect that percentage to increase. Even many automobiles today have internet access. However, we will be looking closely at options to expand our broadcast coverage as time goes on.