At a time when corporate power in all spheres of the media has reached unprecedented heights, fighting back is not easy. Yet all over the country people are creating options to the corporate media, alternatives that challenge the profit motive and open up new avenues for individual and group creativity. Here in the mid-Willamette Valley, KMUZ FM community radio has been in the forefront of this effort.
Community radio is radio by, about, and for the people in the local community. About a decade ago a group of local people realized that while Portland and Eugene had community radio stations of their own, there was nothing comparable in the mid-Willamette Valley. So, they applied to the FCC for a frequency, recruited volunteers, raised money, bought equipment, and found a studio to get on the air. Their goal was to create a station whose mission is to bring the civic life and culture of the mid-Valley to local residents. In fall of 2011, after a huge effort involving dozens of volunteers, KMUZ began broadcasting in most of Marion County at 88.5 FM and four years ago it added an additional frequency at 100.7 FM to cover Salem and parts of Polk county. And, of course, KMUZ also broadcasts worldwide at KMUZ.org
KMUZ is a place where people can turn to find out about local politics, to hear local music and to learn about local theater and the arts. Almost all of its programming is created by local, volunteer programs hosts and covers a wide variety of issues and genres. Each day our Willamette Wake Up program covers different aspects of local civic life in Salem, Keizer, and the smaller communities of our area. On Wednesday mornings, for example, Scott Schlegel brings listeners a report about the Salem City Council, while every fourth Friday Berto Rossi covers the local labor movement. When it comes to music, KMUZ offers programming in virtually every genre, from classical to reggae, and its talk shows deal with a wide variety of topics. You can check out the schedule on KMUZ’s new website here: https://kmuz.org/schedule/
KMUZ wants to build a vibrant alternative media in the mid-Willamette Valley. To that end, we are now engaged in a joint project with CCTV and Mano a Mano to construct new radio options for local listeners. This team effort, which also required lots of volunteers and money, has recently allowed us to increase our signal strength from 32 to 220 watts and will increase our potential audience from 50,000 people to over 300,000. We are excited and we hope you are, too! To keep our programming fresh and innovative, we want to generate more listeners and more volunteers. We hope you will be one of them.
So, if you have not tuned into KMUZ, we hope you will do so now. Help us build a space that puts people first, not profits. Pass the word, comment, volunteer, donate. Join the effort to make the mid-Valley’s alternative media as rich and entertaining as it can be!