With bad news in abundance these days, it’s always a relief when we have good news to share. And we have some really good news to pass along and celebrate: Seattle is gaining a new independent media outlet that will air progressive news and views over our publicly owned airwaves.
KODX-LP 96.9 FM will be a low power FM radio station broadcasting 24⁄7 out of the University District. It will be possible to pick up the station over the air in a large swath of Seattle, extending to both sides of the Ship Canal, and for those outside of the coverage area, it’ll be possible to listen online via livestream.
The station is being put together by Earth On-the-Air Independent Media, which has been around since the late 1980s. Earth On the Air got its start producing a radio magazine; since the 1990s, it has collaborated with grassroots organizations and documentary filmmakers on media literacy projects.
“KODX’s purpose is to be a forum for radical, progressive voices, issues, and perspectives,” its organizers say. “Shows will be produced both locally and nationally with content that builds toward economic, racial and environmental justice, and peace. Community groups and local volunteers will be trained to produce shows, air content, and help with running the radio station.”
Although Seattle is one of the most progressive cities in the country, progressive voices are not as well represented in the region’s media landscape as they ought to be. That’s especially true with respect to the terrestrial broadcast segment. Greater Seattle has not one, but two radio stations specializing in right wing talk (KVI, KTTH) and a third (KIRO) that airs multiple right wing shows as part of its lineup.
From 2004 until 2013, greater Seattle had a progressive talk radio station airing nationally syndicated programming — AM 1090 KPTK, originally an affiliate of Air America Radio. But at the end of 2012, KPTK was converted into KNFQ “The Fan” by its owner, CBS Radio, after executives in New York decided that making the station part of a national sports talk radio network would be more lucrative.
With most existing licenses for broadcasting terrestrial radio controlled by big corporations with faraway headquarters, efforts to resurrect progressive talk in Seattle haven’t amounted to anything more than talk. But thanks to the passage of legislation during the Obama years, barriers to setting up low power FM stations were removed. That prompted Earth-on-the-Air Independent Media to apply for a license from the Federal Communications Commission.
Licensee: EARTH ON-THE-AIR INDEPENDENT MEDIA
Service Designation: FL Low Power FM (LPFM) station or application
Frequency: 96.9 MHz (Construction Permit)
File No.: BNPL-20131029AGJ
Facility ID number: 192326
CDBS Application ID No.: 1630982
If you’d like to learn more about the effort to start up KODX-LP FM, you may want to RSVP for the station’s launch party, taking place on Thursday, October 5th from 6:30 — 9 PM at the University Temple United Methodist Church.
We’re screwed in Bellingham though. With the loss of KBAI and the earlier loss of AM 1090, there is no on air alternative with a signal strength worth listening to. Big money wins. Rush Limbaugh is on four stations.