Local station 100.7 FM Curry Coast Community Radio could go off the air, unless they find a new tower to broadcast from by October.
The nonprofit, volunteer station is scouting potential locations for a new tower while raising money to assemble it, before they are forced to move their broadcast antenna off of the city of Brookings tower this fall.
A one-year memorandum of understanding between CCCR (KCIW) 100.7 FM and the city is currently allowing the station to rent space on the city tower at $100 per month. Previously, the station had been able to broadcast from the city tower for free, but the Brookings City Council decided to not renew that agreement, fearing they would appear biased by supporting a station which leans left politically, said Candice Michel, treasurer of CCCR.
Michel got involved with CCCR when founders Tom and Linda Bozack approached her with the idea of a volunteer-run community radio station in 2014. The Bozacks knew Michel from her time with a local TV station, which had dissolved.
“They had this idea that a community radio station might be a pretty cool thing to have,” said Michel. “They ambushed me...Linda says, ‘you definitely want to be a part of the community radio station, right?’ Within two or three weeks I was on their board.”
In the beginning, CCCR was more of a podcast provider than a radio station; posting pre-recorded music, talk and drama shows on their website. Meanwhile, Michel and other members were educating themselves on how to actually broadcast their programming on the radio.
“None of us had any idea what we were doing,” said Michel. “My dad was a disc jockey when I was growing up, so I was familiar with what it looked like to be in a radio station, but I didn’t have any clue about how to put one together.”
Slowly but surely, the group gathered the necessary knowledge and equipment to be able to broadcast, and in April of 2017, CCCR went on the air. Since then, CCCR has been transmitting mostly original programming non-stop, including unique music shows, such as “Afrosonic Taxi” and “Hard and Heavy with the Dutchman.”
Additionally, anyone is welcome to produce their own show and pitch it to the station, making CCCR truly a community radio station, said Michel.
In fact, Michel recently wrapped up the final episode of a talk show series she hosted with former Mayor Jake Pieper called “Building Bridges.” The idea for the show was to take people from opposite sides of the political spectrum and have them discuss local and national issues in a well-behaved manner. Michel, who identifies as a liberal, and Pieper, a conservative, did just that. Michel said the result amazed her.
“I’ve learned so much from him and I think he’s learned from me as well,” said Michel. “It was exactly what we wanted to demonstrate that you can take two people on opposite sides of an issue, and instead of calling each other names...there is actually a way to find common ground.”
In total, Michel and Pieper recorded 32 episodes together. After resigning from his mayoral post, Pieper decided to take a break from the show.
Now, Brooking’s community radio station needs somewhere to go. Michel said CCCR has to raise $30,000-35,000 to be able to erect a new tower and attach their broadcast antenna to it. So far, they’ve come up with nearly $6,000 from donations. Michel said they are hoping to receive grant funding as well. All in all, she thinks the station will survive.
“Every time we have been in desperate need for somebody or something, somehow it’s been there,” said Michel.