Community Radio Station Coming to the South Valley

Many may not have realized that there are a number of gaps in Tulare County’s regional media landscape. There has been no public access television outlet or community radio station located inside Tulare County. Fortunately, a non-profit corporation, South Valley Community Media (SVCM), has been newly formed to fill that void.

SVCM is nearly able to tune in to a brand new radio station broadcasting on the portion of the FM spectrum reserved for non-commercial educational entities. KPSV, 91.9 MHz, is licensed and preparing to go on the air in early May. Its signal coverage is designed to reach communities on the Valley floor within Tulare County and in parts of bordering counties. Streaming on the World Wide Web from KPSV.org will allow distant residents and people living in the shadow of the foothills to be included. The website is up, and it has a donation page where a program schedule will eventually be posted and an audio player will be installed.

The facility was originally constructed to transmit from the west side of the Tulare Lake Basin—the closest location possible that would avoid creating signal interference with existing stations. Since obtaining the license, however, it is now feasible to move the antenna to an elevated position in the Sierra foothills. The efficiency resulting from the proposed relocation will translate into major cost savings in electrical power requirements, and therefore benefit future listener-subscribers.

The estimated cost of the transmission equipment and furnishing of a studio is estimated to be between $30 to $40 thousand dollars. SVCM is scheduled to launch a fundraising campaign for that purpose and begin to acquaint the public with the concept of community owned and operated media. Look for the KPSV-FM table at Visalia’s downtown Farmers Market at Church Street and Main, starting on Thursday March 17.

The primary advantage of community radio over public and commercial stations is that the content will reflect the diversity of the community, bridging language, cultural and ideological barriers. KPSV-FM and all future SVCM media projects will be run democratically with open membership and member representation on the board of directors. Projects will be staffed almost entirely by community volunteers.

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