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KMUZ’s Community Radio Dream in Salem, Oregon: Will Reggae Save the Day?

KMUZ Fundraises for New Community Radio Station

In Salem, Oregon there’s a new community radio station in the works with an anticipated launch date of early next year. KMUZ, aka “People Powered Community Radio,” is currently licensed to the Salem Folklore Community and will be located at 88.5 FM.

Before the station is able to launch, they need to raise tens of thousands of dollars in order to purchase equipment. They are seeking donations on their website and have also set up a webstore where they are selling KMUZ-themed merchandise (some with the headphone logo pictured in this post), including T-shirts, aprons, tote bags, water bottles, etc.

According to their website,

“KMUZ will be all about diversity and community ownership. We want to give a voice to those who are not given a voice in mainstream media – namely, localswith engaging ideas and/or news. And then there’s the music ... the kind that you won’t hear on commercial radio…anything goes. The station will evolve as people from the Mid-Willamette Valley step up to offer their music and thoughts to the rest of us.”

KMUZ utilized a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise $1700 so that they could promote and hold a special event, The Life of Bob Marley, featuring reggae expert and author Roger Steffens. It is hoped that the multi-media event, being held tomorrow night (October 29th at 7pm at Willamette University), will bring in more funds for the community radio station.

In addition to seeking cash donations, KMUZ is also looking for all kinds of broadcast equipment in order to get the station off the ground, including headphones, transmitter, antenna, turntables, etc. They have transmission equipment (PDF) and broadcast studio equipment (PDF) wishlists posted on their website for potential donors to peruse. The transmission equipment list also includes the estimated costs for the equipment and installation, making if pretty clear how much money the station needs to raise for specific items. I know that lots of radio stations have unused equipment gathering dust, so it would be great to see it put to good use at an upstart like KMUZ.

As an article in the Salem Weekly pointed out, KMUZ is at a critical juncture and needs to raise enough money to get the station on the air by August 2011 in order to retain its broadcast license. The article states that, “If fundraising goes well at the reggae event, then hopefully the station will be streaming online in the spring” and shares the perspective of KMUZ’s Karen Holman, “‘We are the second biggest market in Oregon, and we don’t have a community radio station.'” If KMUZ is able to secure the needed funds, then Salem may indeed have a community radio station by next year.

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