Chris in the morningIn the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, the local radio station, KBHR, keeps the scattered residents informed of local events and emergencies. The morning host, Chris Stevens, mixes classical philosophy and erudite quotes with local news, and everyone in town pays close attention via their radios.

Radio is a unique medium. It was the first mass communication channel in the world that could offer live information and news. Newspapers reached millions of people and in their heyday had four or five editions a day in big cities. Newspapers are however “old news” compared to the instant interactivity of radio. Even Television, which supplanted radio as an entertainment medium, does not offer the immediate “live” connection of radio.

So, why not just do “radio” over the Internet? In many ways the Internet is an ideal alternative to the radio waves. In fact, almost all radio stations stream their content over the Internet. However, when your power goes out in a storm, your battery operated radio will work. Also, radio is a very simple technology to use. And it’s always free.

To serve local communities the FCC licenses low power FM radio stations. Wimberley, where I live, has had several groups of people interested in starting a new local, radio station. One group has recently gotten the go ahead from the FCC to build a station and if all goes well soon there will be local programming on the public air waves. For now, they stream a full schedule on the Internet, but real radio is the shining goal.

In anticipation of going “on air” soon, the station is seeking local people to develop and host programs. The light bulb goes on… What about a program on aging? How valuable would it be to have a local program focusing on the issues and needs of the elderly? Sounds good to me. Does it sound like something your community needs?

References and Links

  1. Chunovic, Louis. Chris-In-The-Morning: Love, Life, and the Whole Karmic Enchilada
    Contemporary Books (April 1993)
  2. Northern Exposure. TV program created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey. It ran 1990-1995.
  3. Wimberley Valley Radio, Susan Raybuck, board president and acting station manager
    Live Internet stream from Wimberley Valley Radio –

Join us for a real-time discussion about ideas raised by this essay on Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. See Discussion and SL tabs above for details. Link to the virtual meeting room: