Letters to the Editor

Tell them you want local radio

Since San Juan Island Community Radio’s construction permit application was held up, due to possible interference with Canadian broadcasting by some 1,500 yards, we have contracted with an FCC-approved broadcast engineer to finish our application, which is now on file with the FCC for public inspection.

The changes in our application include a much more expensive tunable antenna than originally planned, several baffles and deflectors (ferrite cores and the like spaced on our antenna), to adjust our transmissions within international regulations. Our first funding need is to pay this engineer a total of $3,600 for services already rendered, as the re-application had to be filed by May 2.

While we have pledges and interest in our community radio station, we have held off asking for actual funds because all of the above — “possible interference ...” and “finish our application ...” are virtual, or computer-held, events, with FCC computers using “modeled contours” to look for interference, while our engineer made other computer “modeled contours” back at them, the meter running merrily all the while.

An example of how complex a small glitch in radio can be and how expensive the technical fix, even at a “non-profit” level. This one can be partly (monthly) paid for by our first San Juan Island Community Radio FYI Bake Sale at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday.

We are a “pay as you go” island, so before you pay any more, tell us on Saturday how you want this to go. While much public funding is available — (75 percent start-up expenses in many cases, up to 50 percent of daily costs) — much of our local productions should be locally funded, if only for local pride. And local productions are cheaper and often better suited to our region than high-cost syndicated shows heard on larger stations.

Sometimes better. "Prairie Home Companion" (hats off, please) was a local show just for Minnesota and Michigan when that’s all that National Public Radio covered. It became one of NPR’s flagship productions when that company sold nationally on several hundred educational stations like KPLU.

We have several recording studios on this island, performers to stuff four separate theater groups, several open-mike bars, and money when the need is real.

We can do this, in style.

Michael Calhoun, president
San Juan Island Community Radio Board of Directors

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