Access Sacramento writes a new chapter in local radio history with the issuance of the call sign KUBU-LP for its new 100-watt FM non-profit community radio station planned for midtown Sacramento.
“We’re excited about providing even more opportunities for people to express themselves, and for all the different voices in the community to be heard,” said JoAnn Fuller, Access Sacramento’s chair of the Board of Directors.
With the Federal Communications Commission assigning KUBU-LP, Access Sacramento enters the construction and program test phase for its Low-Power FM (LPFM) station and expects to be operating on 96.5 FM later this year in the Fall.
“KUBU took some research, but it was a lucky find,” said Gary Martin, Access Sacramento Executive Director. “It’s rare to find call letters so poignant these days. The call sign seems to fit like a glove. After all, where else in the Sacramento area can community members use a radio station that will let U-B-U?’
Community Radio Producer Raina Lagrette said, “I really appreciate it. This is gonna be sweet. Hearing us in your car, cool!” Currently, Access Sacramento’s radio producers are heard on cable television and the Internet where they create a mix of music, talk, and information programming.
Access Sacramento has been a leader in community media for nearly 30 years from its radio and television studios in the Coloma Community Center at 4623 T Street. The non-profit, non-commercial foundation provides low cost training and production assistance to Sacramento County residents, as well as support and instruction in emerging technologies.
The LPFM authorization will allow the station to reach from midtown Sacramento to approximately Sleep Train Arena in the north and Florin Road in the south, and to Sacramento State in the east and down Interstate 80 past West Sacramento.
Under a primary grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Television Commission, Access Sacramento strives to bring awareness and information to the greater Sacramento area through two local public access cable television channels and to the world via streaming audio and video from our website at www.sacramento.org
“I’m dating myself here, but with so many U’s in the call sign, it kind of reminds me of Underdog,” laughs Access Sacramento Radio Program Director Shane Carpenter. “We’ve always been the media underdogs, but soon we’ll be out there with the big dogs.”
The LPFM station follows in the spirit of the many innovative and progressive endeavors Access Sacramento has undertaken over its nearly three decade span. You can get involved by visiting us in person or via our website or by calling us at 916-456-8600 and learning about your community media opportunities.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a license and construction permit Friday for non-commercial non-profit Access Sacramento to operate on frequency 96.5 FM.
“This will be such an important opportunity for our radio producers to be heard by an even larger audience,” said JoAnn Fuller, Access Sacramento’s Chair of the Board of Directors. “For more than two decades we’ve been heard on cable radio or the website, but now here’s a way for an even greater connection to the community.”
LPFM station applications were accepted by the FCC last November after a call by Congress to the FCC to provide more hyper-local community content.
Listen to Access Sacramento’s “The Voice” HERE.
“Access Sacramento’s television public access content has always promoted local programs,” said Gary Martin, Access Sacramento Executive Director. “Now our radio programmers’ music, talk, public affairs and election information that will be heard in cars all over Sacramento.”
Access Sacramento already operates cable television channels 17 and 18 on Comcast and SureWest Cable and can be seen on Channel 99 on AT&T U-verse, with audio streaming on cable radio, the Second Audio Program (SAP) and the Internet.
The station will operate from the radio studios housed in the Access Sacramento offices at the Coloma Community Center in East Sacramento. The transmitter and antenna will be positioned in midtown off the top of a six story office complex.
The low-power station will be hear from approximately Sleep Train Arena in the north to Florin Road in the South, and in the east from about Cal State, Sacramento through West Sacramento.
“We have 18 months to get the transmitter up and operating,” said Shane Carpenter, Access Sacramento’s radio coordinator. “There is so much extra energy about Access Sacramento right now. Our radio announcers are hoping for big things: more remotes from downtown, more election and candidate discussion, and maybe even a chance to broadcast city council meetings.”
Access Sacramento is just one of 13 LPFM applications filed for the Sacramento area. Two applications have been dismissed, and one other application was granted a week ago: The Williams Memorial Church of God in Christ was approved for FM 99.1 Mhz. Three applications have been “Accepted for Filing” which means all of the engineering is correct and a license is very likely. Six other application have been ‘received’ but many of these applied for identical frequencies and they’re negotiating to determine if partnerships can be built before the FCC acts.
License approval is expected any day on Access Sacramento’s application to operate a low-power FM radio station from downtown Sacramento.
A 30-day public comment period closed Sunday without any filings being posted on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) website.
“Getting a license is essentially a done-deal now,” said Shane Carpenter, Access Sacramento’s radio coordinator. “After creating radio programming for more than 25 years on cable television, it’s exciting to think we’ll actually be on over-the-air radio later this year.”
Once a license is granted, Access Sacramento will file for a construction permit with the FCC. This process specifies additional details about where equipment will be placed and how the station will be built.
Access Sacramento’s application predicts placement of the transmitter and antenna in downtown Sacramento, and the building owner has provided a “Letter of Reasonable Assurance” to demonstrate a good-faith intention to allow the new station to be built on the building’s existing tower.
“We already have nearly 60 radio producers and shows being created each week for our Cable TV and internet broadcasting,” said JoAnn Fuller, Chair of the Access Sacramento Board of Directors. “So we know Access would easily be able to provide 12 hours of good original programming every day once we get our license.”
Current programming includes talk and music shows, with a wide variety of approaches including informational programs that focus on politics, health, religious or cultural information.
“Our mission is to help Sacramento County residents to get their information, values and passion out into the community,” said Gary Martin, Access Sacramento Executive Director. “Making a Difference, One Voice at a Time, is our mission statement and we’re honored to being doing that for 28 years.”
Access Sacramento intends to offer existing radio producers the chance to continue their programs on the over-the-air station at the same times they are currently broadcast on Cable TV and the Internet. While some of the programs are live, most of the shows are pre-taped and played back through an automation system.
As the operator of two cable TV channels already, Access Sacramento provides its members low-cost technology training and access to professional equipment for radio and television program production. An annual membership involves attending a free orientation session and paying a $30 fee.
Information about the radio training classes and television workshops is available at the Access Sacramento website.
Access Sacramento radio producers are finding a completely remodeled Studio Two when they return this week.
A brand new Audio Arts R55E audio board, JBL Studio Monitors, microphones and mic accessories are ready for use. Staff replaced the microphone booms and added shock mounts and new windscreens for cleaner and more vibrant audio capture.
Radio Program Director Shane Carpenter and Broadcast Engineer Tim Parish did the installation over the normal holiday break in order to minimize the potential impact on regularly scheduled production time.
During the holiday break, the radio station operated on automation and traditionally runs pre-recorded programs for two weeks while production and engineering staff do inventory and routine maintenance.
“The new equipment improves the overall sound quality and production experience from Studio Two,” said Carpenter. “The new equipment has a crisper and more robust sound. Radio producers will bask in the audiophile richness of the JBLs and our listeners should really enjoy the improved sound from the new board and processing.”
The Access Sacramento studio also benefits from a bigger equipment rack that now houses the automation computers with space for additional gear for additional expansions later this year.
“The new gear brings Studio Two into parity with Studio One and will be great once our radio shows are heard on an over-the-air Low Power FM (LPFM) radio station,” said Gary Martin, Access Sacramento Executive Director. “We’re hoping to hear from the FCC later this month that our license request has been approved.”
The LPFM station would be connected to the existing Access Sacramento audio programming and could be heard in the midtown area from West Sacramento to approximately Sacramento State, and from North Natomas to about Florin Road.
In anticipation of the license, for example, Access Sacramento has already purchased the required Emergency Action Notification equipment needed for broadcasters to receive and rebroadcast official news and information during times of emergency.
Some additional equipment installation and testing will continue for several weeks, but operationally, radio producers will begin using the equipment immediately.
“We’re experiencing a renaissance of sorts in radio and throughout Access Sacramento,” said Carpenter. “Moreover, it’s truly a great time to be here. Feel free to stop by and check out the new facility. Better yet climb aboard and share your voice as Access Sacramento makes local radio history “One Voice at a Time.”
Access Sacramento’s request to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to open a new Low-Power FM radio station in midtown Sacramento was officially accepted for filing last Thursday, opening a 30-day comment period for those who might oppose a station at the 96.5 frequency.
Once the comment period has closed, the FCC would review comments, if any, and then determine whether to grant the license.
Access Sacramento is the lone applicant for the 96.5 FM frequency after 13 non-profit groups applied in November for six different frequencies during the FCC’s first open application period in a decade.
Access Sacramento, which also operates two cable TV channels in Sacramento County, has also done radio broadcasting for 26 years as background audio while community messages aired on the cable channels and more recently on the internet. To hear “The Voice” radio broadcast push HERE.
Member-volunteers provide audio programming that represents the diversity of the community itself. Radio producers do music programming that ranges from oldies to hip/hop and Salsa, and public affairs programming that covers current topics from both conservative and progressive viewpoints.
“We’re already an established non-profit, non-commercial broadcaster who focuses on helping community voices get heard,” said Gary Martin, Access Sacramento Executive Director. “By putting our existing and new programming onto an over-the-air FM radio station, we’re helping ensure those important messages that might not be heard on mainstream commercial stations will be broadcast.
If the FCC grants the license in early 2014, that would clear the way for Access Sacramento to apply for an FCC approved construction permit. That application would finalize details of the transmitter location and other operational details of setting up a new station.
“If all of the planning steps progress smoothly, the station could be broadcasting by late summer,” predicted Shane Carpenter, Access Sacramento’s Radio Coordinator.
As proposed, the low-power station would reach from the midtown area into a circle roughly covering West Sacramento on the west to Arden Arcade and Sacramento State on the east, and from Natomas on the north to Florid Road in the south.
Access Sacramento’s television broadcasts cover all of Sacramento County on Comcast and SureWest Cable channels 17 and 18, and on AT&T U-verse channel 99.
For anyone interested in becoming a radio or television programmer/producer, contact Access Sacramento to become a member. A free orientation class is provided twice monthly, and low-cost training classes teach members how to create radio and television shows. Once training is complete, members use Access Sacramento’s studios and check-out equipment free of charge.
Membership and class information is available on the Access Sacramento website at www.AccessSacramento.org and by calling the main office (916) 456-8600, ext. 0.
While “The Voice” radio producers eagerly await word on Access Sacramento’s application with the FCC for approval to launch a new Low-Power FM radio station in midtown, their anticipation for even quicker improvements has already come true.
Radio Coordinator Shane Carpenter has completed ordering equipment for a full-remodel of Studio Two, with additional enhancements to upgrade elements of Studio One as well.
The older of Access Sacramento’s two studios, Studio Two, will receive a new audio mixer (Audioarts R55E) identical to the board used in Studio One. New speakers and computer equipment will also be installed to assist radio programmers with creating live and recorded programs for use on the cable channels and Internet.
Both Studios also will benefit from new microphone booms and windscreens.
Installation of the new equipment will mean occasional shutdowns of Studio Two during the early part of 2014, but the intention is to create only minimal disruption to the regular creation of radio programming. Besides the new audio board, the large equipment racks that hold most of the equipment will be reset to facilitate convenient use and maintenance.
Access Sacramento’s radio and TV studios are closed from Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 for maintenance and inventory, so member-producers will be pre-recording programs for use during the holiday time period. That will also be the time for the audio board to be installed, with the rack elements to follow later in the month.
As for the Low-Power FM radio station application, Access Sacramento is the only applicant for an open frequency at 96.5 FM. Twelve other non-profit organizations have applied for six other frequencies in the Sacramento area.
The FCC is reviewing all of the applications and after they are officially “Accepted for Filing” there will be a 30-day review and comment period before the FCC will issue permission granting a construction permit.
There are no guarantees the FCC will grant any licenses, but a congressional order in 2011 requested the FCC begin a process for allowing more community programmers in the LPFM area. Approximately 2,800 non-profit foundations, educational institutions and government agencies across the nation applied for the new licenses before the deadline Nov. 15, 2013.
For more information on becoming a radio programmer on Access Sacramento’s The Voice contact the main office or Radio Coordinator Shane Carpenter at 916-456-8600 extension 0.
Access Sacramento’s radio operation “The Voice” may begin broadcasting over-the-airwaves from downtown Sacramento in late 2014 if the FCC approves an application filed last week to operate a Low-Power FM (LPFM) radio station.
The application-filing window closed Friday for non-profit groups to submit an on-line request for the rarely offered LPFM broadcast frequencies. The last opportunity was a decade ago.
“Because a LPFM station like this broadcasts less than 10-miles in any one direction, the programming is acutely local,” said Shane Carpenter, Access Sacramento’s radio coordinator. “Because our programmers are already used to serving Sacramento County on cable, this would be a great opportunity for additional outreach.”
Currently, radio programmers from Access Sacramento are heard as a backdrop to the community message bulletin board on our two cable channels and on the Internet.
The LPFM station application, if approved, would become a training ground for community producers who want to share their messages and programming simultaneously on cable, the Internet and over the airwaves.
Access Sacramento provides radio and television programing that is unique in Sacramento County, serving the community with its mission by “giving voice to the thoughts, dreams, opinions, and community events not otherwise seen or heard on commercial or public, TV, radio or other popular forms of media.”
Access Sacramento’s “The Voice” radio service has been in operation from the organization’s beginning 27 years ago and originally was heard as a second-audio-channel for cable subscribers in Sacramento County.
An unknown number of non-profit organizations will have applied for the available frequencies across America, and Access Sacramento expects to learn in the next few weeks who else has applied for a frequency in this area.
Experts from Common Frequency, an engineering firm hired by Access Sacramento to help with the technical specifications of its application, predict a minimum of two frequencies are likely for the capital region.
Frequency locations with only one applicant are scheduled to be notified in early 2014 of their approval for a construction permit. For frequencies with multiple applicants, an opportunity to partner will be encouraged by the FCC before any allocation decision.
LPFM station applications became available after Congress directed the FCC to create more broadcast opportunities for community-based radio in the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. The rule expanded the availability even more by including larger urban areas that had been restricted under an earlier law.
According to the Prometheus Radio Project, there are more than 800 LPFM stations already on the air with programming from non-profit agencies, churches, colleges and emergency responders.
Access Sacramento is a non-profit 501(c)3 foundation providing video services on Comcast and SureWest Cable channel 17 and 18 and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99. Both the video channels and “The Voice” can be heard by clicking on the appropriate link from www.AccessSacramento.org