by Staff Writer
South Seattle- South Seattle residents will soon be the beneficiaries of tailored made airwaves as Rainier Valley Radio was just recently granted a construction permit/license by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Rainier Valley Radio, spearheaded by SEEDArts and local luminaries including radio personality Tony Benton, has been in the planning stages for the past two years and was initiated when the FCC announced that it would begin issuing licenses for low power FM stations- or LPFMs.
The stations are primarily meant to provide a non-commercial platform for nonprofits, schools, churches, and communities to broadcast original and hyper local content that would not normally appear on their corporately owned counterparts. LPFMs operate at a maximum power of 100 watts which equates to a coverage area of 3 to 5 miles.
The organizers behind Rainier Valley Radio hope that the station can provide the solution for what they feel is a void of adequate media coverage on Seattle’s south end.
“This is indeed an achievement… but we have lots of work still to do,” said Jerri Plumridge, one of Rainier Valley Radio’s lead organizers.
Indeed, though the station has an official call signal of 105.7 FM, it still has to go about the business of obtaining an antenna permit, fundraising, and settling on a programming schedule that can appease the diverse community housed in the Rainier Valley area.
However, those issues appear to be on the far end of the minds of most south end residents, as the initial reaction of most to having a local station housed in the area was all but enthusiastic. “I just can’t believe that we’re going to have a radio station of our own,” said Terry Elsemore, who lives in Rainier Beach. “The time has been long overdue that we can speak to the rest of the city using our own voice!”