On January 9, 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made an historic decision. It introduced a new category of radio broadcast station for which it would issue licenses: Low Power FM (LPFM). Such stations, limited to no more than 100 watts of transmission power,  were designed to provide opportunity for hearing and developing new voices, reach underserved populations of both broadcasters and listeners, and to facilitate the democratization of the air waves by exclusively licensing non-commercial, community-based stations.

Thirteen years later, the FCC announced its second, and possibly its final licensing application window during Fall, 2013.

Two local theatre and speech artists, David Purdy and Ellen Stewart, operating as The Radio Project (TRP) elected to seek an LPFM license with the purpose of establishing a new community radio station to serve Sonora.

Because FCC regulations required non-profit status for applicants at least 3 years prior to application, TRP approached the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance, requesting use of their non-profit 501 c (3) status and enlisting TCAA’s support by applying for the license under the umbrella of the Arts Alliance.

With the help of TCAA Executive Director, Connie O’Connor, a long-time advocate of Community Radio, application was made in October of 2013 and a “Permit to Construct”  officially awarded February 3, 2014. The call letters, KAAD-LP, previously existing as a Coast Guard Registry, were assigned as was the frequency of 103.5 KHz on the FM dial.

The partnership then expanded to include Sonora Union High School. The Sonora Dome basement was offered as a transmission site in exchange for assistance with developing a Media Arts course as part of the career technical classes offered to students in grades 9-12. The radio station would also provide a laboratory opportunity for those students and form the cornerstone of KAAD-LP Youth Radio.

The most significant support in developing KAAD-LP was achieved through the generosity of the Sonora Area Foundation (SAF) in a matching grant with the Sonora Union High School District for acquisition of radio broadcast and transmission equipment. A $10,000 bequest by SAF was matched by SUHS enabling KAAD to purchase the range of equipment necessary to produce, broadcast, and transmit FM radio to a listenership within a 6 to 10 mile radius of the Sonora Dome transmission site, reaching a potential audience of approximately 20,000 people. With the intended addition of Internet streaming at kaadlp.org, the station has the potential to extend its audience world-wide, wherever Internet access is available.

KAAD-LP is scheduled to commence full scale on-air broadcast by November 1st, 2016, with the option to begin streaming prior, as content and staff permit.

Who will be this community radio?

…our community – local people coming together to be heard, to make something greater than any one of us can manage.

…folks who think creating a radio station might be fun.…who want to face new challenges, learn new technology, and create programs impressed with our own personal stamp while celebrating an old art: sound wave communication.

…a forum for providing an opportunity for people of different ages and experience, skills and passions to present subjects to pique our interest, to illuminate our world.

…citizens who will not shy away from discussing controversial subjects of concern, but always with civility

…people who seek to share stories through words and music, with an emphasis on the people who make our local art and provide our community its culture.

…voices of the forgotten, the unsung, the folks we live and work beside but seldom know.

For more information please visit KAAD-LP online: HERE