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.

Radio Coordinator Shane Carpenter (left) with Access Sacramento member James Allen, who produces “Blues and Barbecue” for community radio, “The Voice.”

Radio Coordinator Shane Carpenter (left) with Access Sacramento member James Allen, who produces “Blues and Barbecue” for community radio, “The Voice.”

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.