Hey, there! Log in / Register

City of Boston gets license for low-power FM station; to go on air in June

WBCA will start broadcasting at 102.9 FM, between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., under the direction of Boston Neighborhood Network.

The signal, beamed from a 100-watt transmitter, might reach as far as five miles away from its location at BNN's Egleston Square studios.

BNN will hold three public meetings to help figure out just what it should be broadcasting: May 18 at the Roxbury Innovation Center at the Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St,, Roxbury; June 15 at the Tynan School, 650 E. 4th St. in South Boston and June 22 at the Jackson/Mann School, 40 Armington St., Allston.

According to the mayor's office:

Initially, early evening broadcasting will feature current BNN programming including BNN Live studio programs and Boston Neighborhood Network News nightly at 9:00 p.m. BNN will also develop late evening programming as a resource for local artists, bands, musicians, poets and performers. The recent series of "Boston Creates" Town Hall meetings revealed a strong interest by local talent in not only performing music and spoken word, but also engaging local youth in mentoring and training. BNN will also develop new opportunities for community participation.

Several groups sought Boston's one low-power license; the city will share the frequency with Lasell College, which will be on air between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Global Ministries, which will beam out religious shows between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Neighborhoods: 
Free tagging: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Jesus, do we have to have yet another religious station??

up
Voting closed 0

Let us know when you hear back from him.

up
Voting closed 0

Marty, bring back BCN and you're a shoo-in for re-election!

up
Voting closed 0

Or FNX. Anything but WAAF

up
Voting closed 0

I wonder if it's too little/too late for LPFM in a smartphone world.

I was involved with a movement to establish (re-establish, really) LPFM following the telecommunications act of 1996. Some of you may remember Radio Free Allston, Radio Free Cambridge and Allston-Brighton Free Radio (which also had a webcast and shut down in 2005).

The only march in D.C. I have taken part in was for L.P.F.M.

Yet, I have to wonder, is the audience still there? I teach high school now - a title 1 urban school - and just about every kid has a smartphone, access to social media, does their music listening through youtube (terrible way to listen to music - but I'm old) etc. I think their grandparents and some of their parents may listen. But, without a youtube channel of archived programming and a web stream that can easily be found, who will it reach?

up
Voting closed 0

I'm sure they'll simulcast the stream online so it's not as if the smartphone-only crowd will be missing out.

Having a real station lets you reach people who can use a radio but can't use a smartphone on the job, for example. It also feel more "real" for the broadcasters even if it's effectively the same. Plus, everyone has network problems every so often but radio is pretty rock solid.

The real shame is that there aren't more spots open for LPFM (and non-profit full power FM). Why should Clear Channel own the public resource of FM?

up
Voting closed 0

I still listen to radio - the left side of the dial, at least. I use the tunein app for non-profit radio outside of our range, too.

up
Voting closed 0

I read something a while ago that, if I remember correctly, said that smartphones have the capability to capture FM the carriers just choose not to use it (at least in the US). Like you I'm also a "left end of the dial" radio listener so I actively seek it out and sometimes use apps or stream when I'm at home. We are very fortunate to live in an area that still has good radio though. Try driving cross country and it's terrible in large swaths of the US.

up
Voting closed 0

My last two HTCs had an FM tuner built in, which was a big selling point for me. They used the headphones as the antennae

up
Voting closed 0

All "smart phones" are capable fo receiving FM radio broadcasts. All you need to do is add an earphone connection. The length of wire between the ear buds and the phone serves as the antenna.

That said, while all smart phones have this built in, many carriers have inhibited that feature. Each cell carrier can adjust the Apple, Android, or Windows operating systems to shut off or eliminate that feature from phones. I use a T-Mobile and that feature has been specifically eliminated from the operating system. I'm still not sure if "rooting" the phone might turn it back on or if I'd need a different SIM card.

The reason for this is simple... This then requires you to download and install one of the radio streaming apps that are either paid, or run scrolling advertisements. Also, depending on your data plan, that would also be racking up the data minutes.

There is a movement on the net that is trying to get this feature reinstated to phones so you can hear the free air waves radio - FM only in this case - but not just because radio is free. The site says that in times of national emergency, an FM or even AM radio may be the only way to get important emergency information since such radio stations all have back-up generators to keep them broadcasting, whereas streaming services via the Internet could be non-functional.

See the NPR article here (long URL - hope it works) : http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/04/16/400178385/the-h...

The public is being ripped off.

up
Voting closed 0

The iPhone is the only one that doesn't have a radio...

up
Voting closed 0

My Droid Turbo doesn't have an FM tuner (well, maybe it does, but as noted above it's been disabled).

up
Voting closed 0

In the latest iPhones it's the Murata 339S0228, to be precise.

But the chip isn't enabled, and there are no APIs to let third party programmers do so (sw on some earlier jail-broken versions of the iThangs could access their FM chips, but it is explicitly against Apple's developers agreement to use unpublished APIs when writing sw for their hw).

up
Voting closed 0

I have T-Mobile too. And I have FM radio.

up
Voting closed 0

has been trying to sell off its cache of Boston stations for a while now, including the SPORTS HUB which consistently gets good ratings, and Boston is the #6 media market. Looks like terrestrial radio is becoming unprofitable these days. Big Companies may back out, but it'll leave FM frequencies available for Universities, high schools, churches, etc etc.
I am all for this!
The issue is being able to meet operating costs. Non-profit radio stations would still need income, but would not be beholden to share-holders clammoring for dividend checks.
I do a show on an internet radio station, and our station applied for that one LPFM licence. It was very competetive.
In the end a group gets it that splits the programming between 3 entities and still needs to have community meetings to figure out how to fill in its programming.
Really GRINDS MY GEARS

up
Voting closed 0

**has been trying to sell off its cache of Boston stations for a while now, including the SPORTS HUB which consistently gets good ratings**

Clear Channel is not trying to sell off it's Boston Stations.

Sports Hub is owned by CBS..which is spinning off it's radio business to a different division. Nothing will change hands....except some stock.

up
Voting closed 0

It was the FCC that split the license in three, not the City/BNN. My understanding is they do this frequently - split the license between what they see as the viable applicants.

Of course there is a public process for input on programming. It's a community station. So the community needs to be engaged. Feel free to propose a show. That's how it works.

up
Voting closed 0

Interestingly, 1996 marked the beginning of traditional radio decline with the roll out of early versions of Real Audio. That was the year that internet streaming really took off and hasn't looked back since. But i think traditional radio still has a place in today's society, just not on the same level as it once was.

up
Voting closed 0

As I pointed out in my comment below, in a given week, the typical American is more than 10x more likely to listen to the radio than a podcast, and the overall radio audience has trended *up* since the year 2000.

up
Voting closed 0

Network Neighborhood News doesn't get mentioned much on Uhub but it's a great program deserving of much credit. They have good guests -- actual city community leaders and local organizations -- and the host (Chris Lovett) know the city well. They also cover neighborhoods never mentioned on any of the other local stations and feature minority guests who are notably absent from the commercial stations and PBS.

WGBH, BZ, etc could learn a whole lot by watching NNN. It's impressive the city has such a program.

BNN is deserving of the LPFM license. Better community groups over colleges and private non-profits.

up
Voting closed 0

Maybe this is just an RCN thing, but I don't see any individual program listings for BNN - in fact, the whole channel is just labeled "Local Origination" - like about a dozen others. Is it different with Comcast?

I catch BNN News occasionally as I surf past, but I think I would watch/dvr it much more often if I saw it in the listings. In fact, inspired by your post, I just visited the web site and watched the "Around Town" segment featuring m'man Tony DeBenedictis showing off and reminissing about Rosi Square. So tyvm DB!

up
Voting closed 0

Although Swirly once attacked me for still listening to "radio", I still listen and it would be nice to have a local station with some talent. Since the death of Lovell Dyett, Larry Glick, Jerry Williams and others, the medium is lacking. Once Howie Carr retires, I will tune out.

up
Voting closed 0

Once Howie Carr retires, I will tune out.

Gold, Jerry. Gold!

up
Voting closed 0

Rush Limbaugh.

up
Voting closed 0

Going million miles an hour on a 7x24 loop...

up
Voting closed 0

An audience of dozens.
Radio is dead.

up
Voting closed 0

Are 20-year olds today still listening to the radio when they drive? Or are the kids all using pandora bluetooth carplay now?

up
Voting closed 0

You might want to ask why "pirate" radio stations, such as Touch FM still operate in Boston neighborhoods with large black populations. The fact that commercial radio long ago abandoned them (last I heard, WILD now broadcasts propaganda from the Chinese government, of all things) is one of the reason the stations remain popular.

up
Voting closed 0

The US radio audience has been growing since the turn of the millenia, and especially here in New England. About 9 out of 10 adults listen to at least an hour of radio every week, with the average listener tuning in for two hours per day. Compare this with 1 out of 2 adults reading at least one article from a print newspaper each week (about 1 in 4 reading daily), or 1 in 15 listening to a podcast each week (1 in 6 per month).

Podcast audience is trending up quickly, obviously - new communication modes do the "S curve" thing when they first catch on. But as I mentioned, radio audience is also still increasing (US and worldwide) and so is newspaper readership (in this case worldwide but not in the US).

I've been listening to people talk about the end of books/newspapers/magazines/reading-in-general/radio/television etc since the 80s (and more lately adding cable & movies). They're like the bizzaro-version of the people who predict fusion power is only about 10-20 years away...every year since the mid 1970s.

up
Voting closed 0

**An audience of dozens.
Radio is dead.**

Wrong...

90+% of Americans tune into the radio every week.

Most every day.

up
Voting closed 0

WCAS (Cambridge-Allston-Somerville)! Cool community oriented AM station in the 70s (maybe 80s?) that had comedy hours by comedians from the Ding Ho Chinese restaurant along with a fake reporter who would do traffic reports with his "Catholic copter" about post-church traffic tie-ups. And great music.

up
Voting closed 0

IIRC, they lasted until about 1984. And they were one of the last AM stations to have a "daytime only" restriction on their broadcast license. As AM radio waves can transmit over greater distances at night than during day, this was so the WCAS signal wouldn't interfere with other stations.

And I agree that WCAS did play great music.

up
Voting closed 0

Still at 740 AM, still restricted at night, but instead of having to sign off entirely, they can now drop their signal to 5(!) watts after sunset.

up
Voting closed 0

...WBCN, WCAS and WNTN were the axis of the most fantastic music ever in the 70s. THOSE were the days of great radio. It has been in decline ever since, if you ask me.(Get off my lawn please). Both WCAS and WNTN had that "daylight only" license. During the Blizzard of 78 WCAS got special permission from the FCC to stay on all night. I remember It felt bizarre to hear them at night.

up
Voting closed 0

FM radio? Can I listen to it on RealPlayer?

up
Voting closed 0