After a five-year freeze preventing local radio stations full power airplay access, Boise Community Radio Project (BCRP) is set to turn the hold-up in Boise around in 2006 and kicking it off with their new webcasting initiative July 1, 2005. Until they receive a license to a frequency via the FCC, the webcast will bridge the gap and offer the Treasure Valley a taste of the soon-to-come local radio. The station's aim will be 75 to 90 percent locally produced music, with a quarter of airplay designated for issue-oriented news as an alternative to NPR.
The national hold-up is due to federal lawsuits involving stations using syndicated national platforms not approving of FCC's criteria favoring local shows for full power airplay. The DC court of appeals has since thrown out all objections to the FCC's initially proposed criteria, and by 2006 the FCC aims to have sorted through approximately 800 applications vying for the 170 available frequencies nationwide. BCRP believe they have an excellent chance at securing one of the frequencies. "We're the biggest area that is not being served by a local community radio station," says Jeff Abrams, director of BCRP.
In preparation for the launch of the webcasting effort, BCRP is looking for members of the community who are interested in hosting weekly programs. A program proposal form and listener survey can be submitted from BCRP's Web site at www.radioboise.org.
BCRP plans to declare July 1 to be Idaho's Independence Day for radio and are also seeking underwriters from local businesses to support the project. As little as $500 could support a month of webcasting effort while the station is in its initial stages. "We'll start modestly and see what the response is," Abrams says.
An upcoming event created by the BCRP is the DJ for a Day project, where local residents get to play programmer this Friday at 7 p.m. to midnight in the Old Boise Building, 509 Main St. across from Moxie Java. DJs will have 15 minutes to serve up diverse music heard nowhere else, with drinks and food available. The event will continue the celebration of the BCRP's effort to establish the area's only non-commercial, locally programmed, independent radio station. Attendance last year was over 300 and raised $2100 to benefit the future efforts of BCRP. Though entrance is free, proceeds this year from the silent auction (call 426-0450 to donate a tax-deductible item) will directly help the new web initiative.