Q. What is URBANMEDIAONE?
URBANMEDIAONE is a 501(c)3 not for-profit organization committed to
educating the community about our public airwaves by bringing
local, independent programming, and generally
furthering the causes of localism, diversity, and independence in
broadcasting. to bring a new music- and arts-focused community radio
station to Chicago.
Q. What is
Tuesday, January 04, 2011, the President signed into law: H.R. 6533, the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, which modifies current restrictions on low-power FM radio stations. This will make room on the radio spectrum for thousands of smaller, community-based radio stations.
Q. Why can’t you just buy a station
A. There are no radio stations
available in Chicago, and if one were to become available, it would cost
tens of millions of dollars. But when you apply for a new low power FM (LPFM)
license (assuming licenses are available), it costs almost nothing.
Q. Will I be able to hear your station’s broadcast
all over the city? In the suburbs?
A. Our webcast, of course, will
be able to be heard by anyone with web access and speakers anywhere in
the world. As far as a potential broadcast, LPFM is by its nature, low
power. Licenses range from 10-100 watts. To give you an idea of that, a
station like WKKC or WHPK is 250-100 watts. We’re hoping for 100 watts,
and we’ve figure out a placement that would best allow us to
reach the most likely chunks of our audience, but we will not be able to
cover the entire city or the suburbs with the broadcast.
Q. Then why a Low Power FM station? Why not go for full power?
A. For much the same reason explained in the
about buying a station. There are no full power stations available, and
if there were, they would cost millions of dollars. Even if licenses
were available to apply for, there are large costs involved in applying
and setting up a full power station. In contrast, a LPFM station costs
nearly nothing to apply for, and can be set up relatively cheaply. Yes,
it would be great to have a strong signal that would cover all of the
city and suburbs, but it’s not realistic.
Q. Other towns have LPFM stations. Why not Chicago?
A. As the law governing LPFMs was written back
in 2000, no big cities are allowed to have LPFMs because Congress
accepted the argument from the (NAB) National Association of
Broadcasters that LPFMs would cause interference with full-power
stations in cities, because the dial is too crowded. But the FCC
commissioned a major independent study (the MITRE report) after that,
which showed that LPFMs do NOT cause interference.
Q. What about translators? I’ve heard they’re an
issue as well. And while we’re at it, what exactly is a translator
A. A translator is a
transmitter and antenna put in place to transmit a signal from a distant
station. Translators were supposed to be used to make sure a local radio
station wasn’t “jumping over” any of its coverage area. But translator
licenses have been misused over the past decade, with stations using them to
build national networks. There are a dozen translators in Chicago, doing
absolutely no local programming, and taking up space on the dial that could
be occupied by new, local LPFM stations (translators and LPFM stations use
exactly the same transmission equipment, yet Congress elected not to
regulate translator licenses in big cities, while prohibiting LPFMs! Most of
the translators in Chicago are retransmitting religious programming from a
single station in northern California. Thankfully the FCC have change
this rule on
translator licenses in big cities,
and dismissed all pending
To make room for new LPFM community radio station.
Q. When will you get a station? And where will it be?
A. A great web version of the station is available now @
Fall 2012 we'll have a new WJPC FM studio in Bronzeville. And the FCC
will announce an application window for new and old
applicants that applied in 2000 like (Urbanmediaone/WJPC
FM( South side) CHIRP (North side), and Radio Arte 90.5 (Pilsen-near west side)
LPFMs, and we’d submit our application. And
of course the FCC is the ultimate decision-maker. They would have to
evaluate our application and determine whether there is room for us on the
Q. Why should I care about radio anymore anyway? There
are lots of other options.
A. The death of radio has been declared many
times. But even now, 75% of all Americans listen to the radio at some point
every single day. Most people who have left radio entirely, or who have cut
back on listening, have done so because of the increase in commercials, the
lack of variety, the repetition of music, and the disappearance of localism.
Part of radio’s mission is to serve the local community, and broadcast in
the public interest. Radio is intimate, it’s with you in your car, your
house, wherever you want it. It’s affordable and accessible. It’s quick,
able to tell you what’s going on almost the moment it happens. At its best,
radio is connected to a single community in a way that the internet,
satellite radio, and even television never can be. Community radio is all
about localism, diversity, and adventurousness in programming, and it’s
non-commercial. Our goal is to create
a station that you’d actually want to listen to, free of commercials and
repetition, and replete with great music, a real focus on Chicago, and
interesting views you can’t find anywhere else on the dial, all brought to
you by people with a true passion for great radio.
Q. If you don’t have a station yet, why are you
A. We need to fund the costs of renting
space, building our studios, purchasing equipment, and paying bills.
Additionally, we need to be in a good position to be able to commission
an engineering study to reapply for a license once an application window
opens. Once our application is accepted, we need to have money in place
to purchase a second transmitter and antenna, and to transition
our web studio to a broadcast studio. We hope to raise $30,000-$50,000
over this year.
Q. What can I do to help?
A. Cheek @ www.wjpcchicago.com for
updates. Make a donation* to wjpcchicago.com to help us in our
efforts to start building station and eventually get a new
broadcast station.*Donations to wjpcchicago.com are not yet
tax-deductible. We’re still working on tax-exempt status.