Belfast looking to community members to start up low-power radio station

By Ben Holbrook | Apr 02, 2014

Belfast — The city of Belfast is exploring options for operating a low-power FM radio station after receiving a permit from the Federal Communications Commission.

Recently, the city hosted a meeting at the Belfast Boathouse for interested residents to discuss operating a low-power radio station. Administrative Assistant Manda Cushman said five or six people attended the informational session, and all of the participants had experience working in radio.

Also present at the meeting to facilitate discussion was Joe Steinberger, the general manager of the Rockland-based low-power radio station WRFR 93.3 FM.

Cushman said having experienced people involved in the process is a benefit to the city because they can advise the municipality on what type of equipment needs to be purchased and with the logistics of operating a radio station.

While the specifics of how the station will operate are still unknown, Cushman said the city may look at using the station to broadcast council meetings or public safety messages. However, Cushman said the city does not necessarily want to be in charge of all of the programming on the station.

“We want it [programming] to be as eclectic as Belfast is,” Cushman said.

As a low-power FM station, Cushman said the broadcast range would be approximately five to 10 miles.

Cushman said the next step for the city is to develop a plan and potentially form a committee to work on getting the station up and running. She said she and City Manager Joseph Slocum will discuss the issue before bringing the idea of forming a committee before the council.

She noted the city's low-power FM radio station permit is valid for a year and a half and the city can apply for an extension that would be valid for another year and a half if necessary.

“We have up to three years to get it going,” Cushman said.

Anyone who is interested in assisting the city with starting the radio station is encouraged to contact Cushman at 338-3370 ext. 10 or at managersasst@cityofbelfast.org.

Cushman said she is also looking at scheduling another informational meeting at a future date.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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