WE'RE ON THE AIR... TUNE YOUR RADIO TO 105.1 FM!
On July 26, 2017, the BSPA was granted a License by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorizing it to service the Brownsville area with a Low Power FM (LPFM) Noncommercial Educational Radio Station under call sign KXIQ-LP on frequency 105.1 FM.
We just celebrated our second anniversary of on-air, analog broadcasting 24/7 from our antenna and transmitter on Boca Chica Tower in Brownsville. We remain most grateful to Lone Star National Bank for allowing us to install our antenna tower on their rooftop. Our studios are set up and operating with most of the amenities of a relatively modern, well-equiped analog radio station.
We'll soon expand access to our station by streaming our content online. In addition to hearing our analog signal on a conventional radio, you'll be able to hear us, anywhere in the world, from your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or from your Android or iOS smartphone with our very own KXIQ phone app. It's our numer one priority and we just can't wait!
We will eventually air news and weather reports, special interest and educational programs, emergency broadcasts and public service announcements. We'll support healthy living, our museums, our zoo and our parks. We will learn about community development, downtown revitalization and about the non-profits that support us and enhance our quality of life.
In the meantime, we'll continue playing lots of music! Just dial your radio dial to 105.1 FM, the old-fashioned way, and enjoy our playlist of over 5,000 personally selected tunes in an astounding variety of music genres. If your only radio is in your car, buy a couple of good radios for home and work... it's highly recommended!
Here's how it all happened:
After nearly ten years of studies, hearings, rule-making and continued resistance from the full-power broadcast industry, the U.S. Congress passed the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 authorizing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to license low-power FM (LPFM) radio stations to qualified community-based, non-profit educational organizations throughout the nation.
With a 24-year track record as a non-profit arts presenter, a clear educational mission, access to locally originated content and federal grant management experience, the BSPA met the criteria for applicants and decided to pursue this opportunity.
During a short application window in late 2013, the FCC Media Bureau received nearly 3,000 applications for radio stations, including ours. We expected the FCC application to be quite complicated but still managed to underestimate its true level of difficulty. In the end, with invaluable assistance from several radio engineers, consultants and community radio advocates, we submitted an application without technical mistakes that could have resulted in our prompt dismissal. Eight anxious months later, on July 29, 2014, the FCC officially granted the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts a Construction Permit to build a low power FM radio station to service Brownsville on 105.1 MHz of the FM band and, as mentioned above, we officially became an FCC Licensee in July 2017.
Unlike full-power commercial AM and FM stations, our FCC License cannot be sold and is unassignable, unlimited and granted to the BSPA totally free of charge. Many experts on the subject believe this may be the last time the FCC will allocate additional frequencies in the FM spectrum. The implications are considerable as there is simply no more clear space between stations available.
Our service area covers all of Brownsville, parts of our neighboring communities and a good portion of Matamoros, adjacent to the Rio Grande River. The FCC predicts a population that exceeds 200,000 residents within the core (the pink circle in the map) of our service area, not including Mexico. Others point out that, because of our flat terrain and lack of high buildings obstructing the signal, our reach may be greater than expected, especially with the quality transmission equipment we use. Listeners in South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Los Fresnos, San Benito and Rancho Viejo with good radio receivers and an outdoor antennae should be able to enjoy our high fidelity broadcasts with no problem.
To learn more about LPFM radio, you can find the FCC's explanation here. For a less cryptic but still technical overview, you can visit the websites of RECnet or Prometheus Radio Project, two of the nation's most influential community radio advocates.
Special thanks to Michelle Bradley of REC Networks, an influential expert on the subject of community radio, for providing the technical, legal and strategic guidance that made this possible. Thanks Michi!