WBFY to start broadcasting in mid-December

Launch party planned at new low-power FM studio Dec. 17
By Ethan Andrews | Dec 06, 2016
Photo by: Ethan Andrews An antenna recently installed on the roof of Waterfall Arts for WBFY 100.9. The new low-power FM community radio station is slated to begin broadcasting by the end of the year from a studio in the building.

Belfast — Belfast's low-power community radio station teased the names of a dozen or so programs on its Facebook page: Poetry By The Bay, Peanut Butter & Jelly Players, The Farmstead Radio Show, Great Songwriters of the 20th Century, Canadian, Eh, Southern Connections, Intelligent/Progressive Hip hop.

"We didn't make those up," Erik Klausmeyer, launch coordinator for the station, said. "Those are real proposals."

WBFY 100.9, as the station will be known, made its first test transmissions Dec. 5 and is set to go on the air Dec. 17.

Klausmeyer said the first couple weeks will run on autopilot with a mix of curated playlists and random picks from a library of 30,000 songs. Programming will start sometime in January.

Belfast Community Radio, the organization behind the station, has raised $35,000 in cash and pulled together roughly $7,000 in donated equipment to get the station started.

Klausmeyer said the annual operating budget could be in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000. There are no paid staff members today, but Klausmeyer said nonprofits generally need someone to hold things together, so that would be a consideration.

The volunteer group will probably take over the Federal Communications Commission license from the city, he said, which would require incorporating as a nonprofit.

The station attracted a slew of DJs, aspiring program hosts and techies in its early stages but struggled to find fundraising volunteers. Klausmeyer, who led the station's small fundraising committee, said that wasn't a surprise, as fewer people are comfortable soliciting money.

Despite getting a later start, the fundraising group got the ball rolling by visiting local businesses. Dec. 1 marked the end of the Founder’s Campaign, which saw donations from dozens of individual community members, local community organizations and businesses. Recently, Klausmeyer said donations have started to come in unsolicited.

A launch day celebration and open house will be held Saturday, Dec. 17, at Waterfall Arts, at 256 High St. in Belfast, where the radio station will broadcast from a basement studio, via an antenna on the roof of the building. The event is open to the public and Klausmeyer encouraged visitors from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. when there will be live music and potluck food and drinks.

"If they want to say something on the air they can do that as well," he said.

Attendees will also have a chance to record station ID promos — "You're listening to WBFY, 100.9" — that will air on the station later.

"We thought it would be nicer to have community members read them instead of volunteers who are always at the station," Klausmeyer said.

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