I've recently ranted about the "drivel" on AM radio on this blog. There are many ham operators that are also AM radio broadcasters, but broadcasting and ham radio, are two totally different things. On a small scale, I'm considering becoming another addition to these ranks.
The drivel being transmitted on the local stations here is just nauseating. It's not factual, it's misleading (I'm being kind with these words) and it's become a cesspool that's sucking the life out of this state. In other words, AM radio has become an exclusive "propaganda machine" for one political party. It's not a democratic voice; it's terrible for our country. Our only alternative now is "satellite radio" but not everyone has this service or can afford it.
Several years ago, there were a couple of hams that operated a "community radio station" in a nearby town with a 10 watt transmitter. They played 50's and 60's music and I loved this station. I'd drive out of my way, to get within range of the transmitters "10 mile target area". But they didn't last long and they never re-applied for their license after it expired.
Looking at comments and information on the web, I've been alarmed that even a small AM stations "start up costs" could reach $100, 000. I'm retired--- never made "that" kind of money, and I'm not looking to create a corporation to borrow money and begin a questionable new business. I don't want another full time job. And the permitting process (even for a simple 10 watt community radio station) can take many, many months, if it's granted at all, by the FCC.
There's an answer to this problem now. It's called "part 15" low power hobby broadcasting and it doesn't cost much to put it on the air. I first became aware of it through an article in a recent radio magazine. Being perfectly legal, it gives the operator a 'fingerprint' of about a square mile.
I can reach several thousand people with that signal.
I'm looking at this very closely. I realize it's a very limited target area. I would only operate in the morning and evening hours. I'd use "local" musicians instead of "mass marketed musicians". I think there's a big market for this in this valley. In addition, using multiple transmitters, it's possible to cover the entire valley of more than 50,000 people. I have a local college and several hundred politicians in this immediate area too.
We have quite a variety of music here. There's Folk, Celtic, Cajun, Americana, Soft Rock, Gospel, and Symphonic music. We're blessed with an abundance of music and local people are always looking for an avenue to display their wares .
On the politics side....mountaintop mining is a big issue here. I'm not against all mining, just the mining that blows off the tops of mountains and shoves them into the hollows and pollutes our streams. It's important to have the proper people standing up for us in Congress and I'll address that issue with this station. And at the national level, I'll air an alternative voice to those that will listen. I'll be democratic in my ideology and offer some fresh air in this valley. Something that's not happening now....
My time line is around the first of the new year. I'll keep you posted on the progress.