It was recently suggested that we provide a FAQ page so here you have it.
We’ve tried to include most of the questions we’ve been asked, uh, frequently, and invite you to peruse them to get a better grasp of what GMCR is about. View or download the PDF and please feel free to ask follow up questions or suggest others to include in the next update / revision.
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Community Radio?
Community Radio is an inexact term and is defined a bit differently by every station. In technical terms, a community radio station operates under an FCC issued NC/E – Non-Commercial / Educational – license in the “Reserve Band” of frequencies that are predominantly on the lower frequencies of the FM dial.
Community Radio – as used by most stations that describe themselves as such – means the ownership, management and operation of the station are all local to the area it serves. It provides music, arts, culture, educational, news and public affairs programming. It prioritizes the interests of community members and promotes and encourages community members to create programs and participate in governance and operation.
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_radio – defines it as follows…
Community radio is a type of radio service, that offers a third model of radio broadcasting beyond commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting. Community stations can serve geographic communities and communities of interest. They broadcast content that is popular and relevant to a local/specific audience but which may often be overlooked by commercial or mass-media broadcasters.
Community radio stations are operated, owned, and driven by the communities they serve. Community radio is not-for profit and provides a mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media rich world to become active creators and contributors of media.
In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs & citizens to work in partnership to further community development as well as broadcasting aims.
What is Gila / Mimbres Community Radio?
GMCR is a New Mexico non-profit corporation with Federal 501(c)(3) tax-deductible status. It is governed by a local board of directors.
When was it established?
A group of Grant County residents began to meet in April 2005 to investigate the possibility of establishing a community radio station here. Regular public meetings took place through the spring and summer, something gelled and GMCR incorporated in October 2005.
Why was it established?
To address the very narrow range of choices and opportunities in the “Media Eco-System” of Grant County. We sought – and received – agreement from a broad cross-section of the community that a large segment of the population were unhappy with the existing outlets and desired much more diverse sources of information and entertainment.
We also asserted that commercial outlets – by definition and by all too obvious trends in business practices – would not meet the needs of this significant segment of local residents to hear the variety of content that they seek. Finally we asserted that existing outlets would not permit meaningful contributions from community members to speak in their own voice and address local issues, concerns and preferences.
What is GMCR’s mission?
GMCR seeks to establish and operate a non-commercial / educational, non-profit, volunteer based community radio station located in Silver City, NM.
GMCR shall provide programming and media access to segments of the community that are underserved.
GMCR shall provide educational programs and services, including but not limited to programs of educational merit including those concerned with scientific, cultural, historical, and humane studies; adult education, distance learning, programs in support of K-12 and higher education; programs incident to for-credit instruction and general interest programs.
GMCR’s news and public affairs programming shall provide a forum for the community, as well as unpopular, controversial, or neglected perspectives on important local, national, and international issues, reflecting GMCR’s inclusive values of peace, justice, democracy, human and civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, freedom of expression, and social advancement.
GMCR’s arts, cultural, and music programming shall cover a wide spectrum of expression from traditional to experimental, and reflect the diverse cultures that GMCR will serve. GMCR shall strive for spontaneity and programming excellence, both in content and technique.
Why are there two community radio projects?
Both GMCR and KOOT FM – operated by Community Access Television of Silver – filed their respective applications for NC/E licenses in the “window” of October 2007. KOOT filed four applications for different frequencies. GMCR filed a single application. While GMCR had extensively publicized its intentions to file an application and invited others to join its efforts in community radio, KOOT/CATS applications only became known after the “window” had closed and the FCC publicly announced all applicants.
Why is KOOT on the air while GMCR is not?
The application process is competitive. Of the 4 applications filed by KOOT/CATS, three had several strong competitors while the 4th had only two competing applications. In keeping with FCC rules and policies, applicants are encouraged to negotiate between themselves to arrive at a “settlement.” KOOT pursued the application with the fewest competitors. They were able to arrive at a settlement within a year in which the 3rd party withdrew and KOOT and the 2nd party arrived at a “time share” agreement such that KOOT only broadcasts from midnight to noon. Further, KOOT broadcasts at only 2,000 watts with a tower location which limits their coverage to Silver City and it’s immediate environs.
GMCR filed for a higher – and thus more desirable and more highly contested – frequency at 10,000 watts with a proposed tower location that would serve essentially all of Grant County. This resulted in over 40 competing applications. A settlement agreement was not possible with the large number of applicants and thus GMCR was forced to wait until the FCC arrived at a decision in GMCR’s favor, finally, in December 2010.
How can I participate?
1st and foremost, you can become a member / supporter of GMCR. You can volunteer for a wide range of tasks which include member of the Board of Directors, Citizen Advisory Board, Committee Member, Station Staff -once we have an office! – DJ, producer, announcer, Citizen Journalist, Event Organization and many others. Depending on your time and interests, you could volunteer from time to time as you find convenient, on a regular schedule or on a per project basis. Feel free to contact us to discuss your interests, skills, experience and availability.
How much will it cost?
In preparing our application we consulted closely with our engineer and attorney and arrived at budget estimates to build the studio and acquire and install the equipment. Of course, many radio stations are multi-million dollar projects however we are projecting startup costs of approximately $50,000 and an initial operating budget of about $25,000 – during the internet only phase with a volunteer staff and about $75,000 at the start of FM broadcast with at least one full time employee. Initially we may have a single employee – a general manager – but would seek to hire two additional 1/2 time employees as we get up to speed.
How will you pay for it?
A large part of the startup cost is the equipment. We are presently pursuing equipment donations from a number of sources and to the degree that we succeed, our cash startup requirements might be significantly reduced. Likewise, we will seek donations of office equipment, building materials and time and energies of skilled carpenters, electricians, engineers, consultants and others to get us going. With a bit of luck, the initial estimate of $150,000 may be reduced by 50% or more.
The number of residents within our service area is approximately 30,000. We will set an initial goal of 1,000 paying members at the $60 annual base membership level. While all memberships provide similar benefits, we invite and expect those with greater means to contribute at a higher level. In our efforts so far, we have staged a number of successful fundraising events and we will continue with similar events. A robust Underwriting program will also be part of our a fund-raising strategies, While we will seek grants from private and public sources, we will be cautious in relying upon them for basic operations as they are subject to a number of variables including the winds of economic, political and social change. Once we are on the air, there will be many promotional opportunities.
And what would a community radio station be without on-air pledge drives?
Where will it be located?
We have secured studio space in beautiful downtown Silver City and we are currently finalizing design and technical specifications for the transmitter site atop W Mountain.
When will it be on the air?
We do not have a firm date set to begin on air broadcasting but it must be done by December 2013 under FCC requirements. We are projecting spring/summer of 2013.
In the meantime, we have all our music licensing in place and have begun our 24/7 Internet Radio webcast. We have a wealth of material available as affiliates of Pacifica and Radio Bilingue, have debuted our first locally produced programs and are building relationships with more local DJs, producers and organizations and will have more locally produced programs under development.
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If you have additional questions, you can ask via the comments box below. We will reply as soon as we have an answer!