I am following Ferndale Radio’s campaign to raise enough funds to launch a Low Power FM station in and around the Rust Belt Market zone of Metro Detroit. The group has a nice promotional Vimeo on its indiegogo page. It confirms what I already knew but haven’t really wanted to face. Lots of young people really, truly do not give a crap about FM radio any more.
“FM radio?” one filmed interviewee responds to a query. “It’s actually more Internet radio now because I’m getting tired of all the commercials and the same music over and over.”
“I don’t listen to FM radio,” another Certifiable Young Person rather unashamedly proclaims.
“Why not?” the interviewer asks.
“Because it sucks,” she replies with a big grin, and then laughs.
Oh fudge. Well, I shouldn’t be surprised given stats indicating that around one out of five ‘Muricans no longer owns an AM/FM receiver. You can bet some of these hip looking kids are among them. Still, what a revoltin’ development. It took years to get this wave of Federal Communications Commission Low Power FM licenses. Now the owners have to figure out ways to entice their intended audiences back to FM.
On the other hand, the Ferndale radio group, which got its license in 2014, seems to have a very smart strategy for making their LPFM work: park it right in the middle of their little town’s commercial hub and put an emphasis on broadcasting indie music. We are talking the city of Ferndale, Michigan here; population around 20,000 or so souls.
There’s a nice interview with Chris Best, the owner of the Rust Belt Market, whose said an LPFM was part of his original development plan. “We had no idea about the FCC and the regulations put in place,” he confesses. “We just thought it was as easy as starting a radio station. You guys have done all the leg work. We couldn’t be more excited to make this happen.”
Here’s the project’s official indigogo statement:
“Your donation will ensure an alternative to Taylor Swift’s domination of the airwaves. We’ll play music you can’t hear anywhere else on the FM dial, and we’ll offer unique programming, like on-air book clubs, radio dramas and much more. This is a radio station for the Ferndale resident, and we’re going to need your help to make it a reality.”
“I would be very interested in something like that,” somebody in the film says, “as opposed to hearing Taylor Swift 63 times a day.”
Ok, we get it. No Taylor. Yes to local music and local talk. So far the campaign has 39 backers and has raised a little over $1.8k of its 15k goal. That is pretty good for a proposed radio station serving a town this size. Hopefully these folks will make their goal in a month or so.