The low power FM station (WERA-LPFM) is a project of Arlington Independent Media. AIM Executive Director Paul LeValley says he believes the station will provide a much-needed service to the community.
“Radio isn’t dead; radio is doing great,” LeValley said. “We need more local media — this gives us the opportunity to do that on the radio side.”
LeValley expects the radio station to built, tested and ready to air by the Dec. 9 deadline previously set by the Federal Communications Commission. Once the station has been declared functional, WERA will apply to the FCC for a license to broadcast.
A logo for the station has been created and AIM is currently in the process of finalizing the site for their radio tower: 2300 Clarendon Blvd. The FCC has granted approval and the building owner has written a lease which is being executed this week; all that’s left is for Arlington County to give zoning approval for a radio tower, but LeValley does not anticipate any problems.
Once the station is licensed, programs will be selected by an independent Program Advisory and Review Council appointed by the AIM Board, its staff and the WERA committee. The council will have 11 members, four from AIM and seven from the greater community.
“We’re going to try and be as diverse as we can geographically, occupationally and ethnically,” said LeValley.
Although the council will be independent, the AIM Board and staff and the WERA committee have written up a list of five values that the committee will use as “guiding principles” to decide which programs go on the air. Applications will be evaluated based on: service, enrichment, localism, diversity and innovation.
The community seems to have responded to the idea of a hyper-local radio station. LeValley says AIM gets inquiries every day from residents who want to get involved. In AIM’s view, the more, the merrier.
“We believe in a communication democracy,” said LeValley. “As many people as possible should be producers — media should be made up of many voices in conversation with one another, holding each other accountable.”
For those who want to get involved, but don’t know how, classes in basic radio production will be offered in the early fall. Courses will likely run about three weeks and cost around $90.
Although LeValley says there is still a long way to go between now and the Dec. 9 deadline, he is “as confident as any person can be when venturing into new territory.”
Arlington Independent Media‘s low-power FM station was approved by the Federal Communications Commission for 96.7 on the dial, with call letters WERA-LPFM. As part of their FCC approval, the radio station must be broadcast-ready by Dec. 9, according to AIM Executive Director Paul LeValley.
When the radio station does launch — and LeValley has no doubt they will be ready to air by the deadline — it will be a platform for anyone interested in broadcasting to get real, on-air experience.
“We’ll train [the community] on how to do it, how to produce a radio program, and they will produce the programming,” LeValley told ARLnow.com this morning. “There’s an interest group among just citizens, people who for years have been lobbying for low-power FM around the area and just in Arlington. The Arlington portion of that group is starting to coalesce, and they meet independent of my board, independent of my staff. And they’re saying ‘What kind of stuff do we want to do?'”
The FCC requires that any low-power FM station operate only for educational, noncommercial purposes.
LeValley said the low-power FM committee of the AIM Board of Directors is meeting to determine what kind of programming mix the station should have. When it’s live, the station will reach most of Arlington and stretch into parts of the District.
AIM received a construction permit to build a radio tower in June, but it’s still in the process of figuring out where the tower will be located. LeValley couldn’t disclose which sites he was looking at, only that it would be “somewhere toward the center of Arlington, on a multi-story building.”
AIM’s LPFM committee chair Andy Rosenberg has worked for years in public radio and has lived in Arlington for more than 40 years. He said he’s thrilled to see how the community gathers around its own radio station.
“There’s a bit of controversy about whether radio is a dead medium, but I think with these LPFM stations, there’s a chance to build community,” Rosenberg said. “Radio is immediate and flexible and there’s so much you can do with it to engage the community. That’s exciting to think about it.”
WERA-LPFM has the capability to broadcast 24 hours a day and the studio will be in AIM’s headquarters on N. Danville Street in Courthouse. Eventually, Rosenberg said, radio programs will be able to be recorded in satellite offices, sent to the station and transmitted through the tower.
Over the next few months, while the tower site is chosen and construction begins, AIM will hold community meetings to try to determine who and what the community wants to hear on the radio, Rosenberg said.
Photo via Facebook
Arlington Independent Media, the Courthouse-based nonprofit organization that encourages average residents to produce and create their own content, plans to launch an FM radio station next year.
AIM announced yesterday that it had been approved by the Federal Communications Commission to construct a “low-power” FM radio station, one with a 3.5-mile broadcasting radius, from its headquarters in Courthouse. While the radius is small, it will cover most of Arlington and reach parts of the National Mall and the White House in D.C.
“Our focus will be on Arlington with the intent to provide hyper-local news, information, and entertainment,” AIM Executive Director Paul LeValley said in a press release.
The station will located at 96.7 on the FM dial and, while “the details are still being worked out” for programming, AIM said the goal is for members of the community to host their own radio shows for news, music, talk and event coverage.
“We’ve been impressed at the high degree of interest within the community,” LeValley said. “Radio programming remains very popular and a lot of people seem to want to participate in creating it.”
The station will be broadcast at 100 watts, and, being a low-power FM station, it can only be used for educational purposes, according to FCC regulations. The station may not be used for commercial means.
AIM’s Board of Directors approved the construction of the new radio station last month after the FCC signed off in June, according to the press release. The Board established a committee to work “alongside staff, AIM members, and the public to plan and implement all the steps required to build and operate a low power FM station.”
Image via Facebook
Terminal A Revamp Underway at DCA — A $37 million renovation project at Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A is proceeding swiftly. The project isn’t adding a significant amount of extra space to the historic terminal, but it will make the existing space seem brighter and more open. Most of the work is expected to be complete by the holiday travel season. [Washington Post]
Pupatella Makes National Pizza Rankings — Bluemont’s Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria (5104 Wilson Blvd) serves one of the top 40 slices of pizza in the country, according to new rankings. Pupatella’s capricciosa pizza was ranked No. 36 on the list, as judged by the Daily Meal website. [Daily Mail]
Students Receive Scholarships at NAACP Banquet — Through a partnership with the Arlington NAACP, a new scholarship fund awarded $2,500/year college scholarships to four high-performing local students over the weekend. The scholarship fund allows the NAACP to “invest in our youth,” said the head of the Arlington branch of the organization. [Sun Gazette]
Beer and Wine Walks Return to Crystal City — Crystal City’s 1K wine and beer walks will return next month. The walks — which allow participants to sample various wines and beers while walking through Crystal City’s underground shopping center — will take place on Nov. 16 and 17. [Crystal City]
County Board Adopts Public Safety Radio Resolution — The Arlington County Board adopted a resolution yesterday (Tuesday) that calls on builders to install technology that allows better police and fire department communications in new buildings. Modern construction materials have made it difficult for first responders to receive radio signals in newer buildings. The Board’s non-binding resolution calls on builders to install in-building wireless systems to better transmit public radio signals. [Arlington County]
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Building Permits for Major Projects — Developers have filed applications to begin construction on two major building projects. At 20 stories, the soon-to-be-built office building at 4040 Wilson Blvd will be the largest of the three Liberty Center buildings in Ballston. Also set for construction: 2145 Lee Highway, better known as the Bergmann’s development. That project will include 175 apartments, 27 townhouses and a MOM’s Organic Market. [Washington Business Journal]
At Kettler, Olympic Hopefuls Expect Gold — The prospective USA Hockey players who are holding orientation camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston through Thursday expect to be a favorite to win gold at the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014. [Associated Press]
Copperwood Tavern Now Hiring — “Cabin-style” restaurant Coppperwood Tavern, located in the former Bistro Bistro space at 4021 Campbell Avenue in Shirlington, is now hiring. The restaurant will hold an employment open house for all positions tomorrow (Thursday) from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. [Facebook]
Catching Up With Dave Arlington — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark chats with WASH-FM deejay Dave Arlington, who used to be a disc jockey at Arlington-based WEAM. [Falls Church News-Press]
In October, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will allow community groups in urban areas to apply for low power FM radio stations. Arlington Independent Media (AIM) has been working on plans to apply for a license to start a community radio station serving the Arlington area. According to a press release, “AIM hopes it can combat the domination of the airwaves by corporations with no local presence or programming.”
AIM will host a roundtable meeting on Thursday to gather supporters, discuss the next steps and to find resources. Some of the topics expected to come up for discussion are station branding, programming, community organizing and fundraising.
“This community radio station will provide access to underrepresented music, promote community dialogue and involvement, encourage individual and artistic expression, and create awareness of local views and events,” said AIM Operations Manager Lauree McArdle.
The meeting is free to attend and will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at AIM’s Clarendon studio (2701-C Wilson Blvd). Light refreshments will be provided. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP online.
Arlington Outpaced in Home Sale Prices — Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax County and D.C. have all outpaced Arlington when it comes to growth in home sale prices. Prices in Arlington increased only 1.1 percent year over year in March, and year-to-date prices are down 1 percent, according to data from RealEstate Business Intelligence. The median home sale price in Arlington hit $515,000 in March. [Washington Post]
O’Connell Defeats Stone Bridge — The highly-ranked Bishop O’Connell softball team defeated their closest competitors in Virginia, Stone Bridge, by a score of 3-0 last night. The Knights improved to 10-0, and remain ranked No. 2 in the region. The team will face No. 9 McLean and No. 1 Northern (ranked second in the country; DJO is ranked third) later this month. [Washington Post]
Kanninen Wants More Responsiveness — Barbara Kanninen says she’s running for Arlington School Board because she wants the board to be more responsive to the concerns of parents. “There’s a lot of parent dissatisfaction,” she said in an interview with the Sun Gazette. Of her opponent, incumbent James Lander, she said “it truly isn’t about him, specifically.” [Sun Gazette]
Remembering WEAM — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark takes a trip down Memory Lane and remembers the Arlington-based AM radio station WEAM. The station used to play pop and rock hits from a studio located “above Minor Hill, off Williamsburg Blvd.” [Falls Church News-Press]
StoryCorps’ silver Airstream trailer will be stationed outside the Columbia Pike Branch Library and Arlington Career Center, at 816 S. Walter Reed Drive, through Oct. 20. The Brooklyn-based organization worked with Arlington Public Library and WAMU 88.5 to secure the location, which is accessible via several bus lines and via car (the library and career center share a sizable parking lot).
StoryCorps’ mission is “to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” To date, the organization has recorded more than 40,000 “interviews” since 2003. (Participants are asked to bring a friend, family member or colleague to do the interviewing; StoryCorps staff members only handle logistics and tend to the sound equipment.)
Anybody who wants to record their story can make a reservation online or by calling 1-800-850-4406. The first reservation available as of Monday afternoon was 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday. Each recording session is 40 minutes long and each interviewee is given a broadcast-quality CD of the recording at its conclusion.
StoryCorps has two stationary recording booths, one in Atlanta and one in San Francisco, but the one in Arlington is its only active mobile booth. Interviews from the booths are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and are occasionally featured on the radio.
Each Friday morning, NPR’s Morning Edition show airs a two-minute feature on a recent StoryCorps recording. WAMU is also expected to air some locally-recorded stories.
Recent StoryCorps interviews featured on NPR included:
- A retired biologist and a museum curator who married after first meeting at a topless bar in Fort Worth, Texas
- A college student who struggled with homelessness in high school
- A veteran cop who often had the responsibility of telling family members that a loved one had been killed in a fatal car accident
Virginia Lora, the site supervisor for StoryCorps, said one of her favorite interviews was a man from Waco, Texas who misspelled an email address by one letter and accidentally reached a woman in the Philippines. The two started corresponding, and that correspondence blossomed into a romance that led to the two marrying. They now live together in Waco.
Doors at the Ballroom open at 5:00 p.m. and the event, which is free and open to the public, kicks off at 7:00 p.m. Ladies are encouraged to “get dressed in summer’s finest” and enter for chances to win prizes like gift cards to Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom’s, Coach, and MAC cosmetics.
In addition to the Junkies themselves — Cakes, E.B., Lurch and J.P. — a number of local media personalities are expected to attend, including Angie Goff and Eun Yang from NBC 4; Bri Carter, Britt McHenry (pictured, with E.B.) and Jummy Olabanji from ABC 7; and Tommy McFly and Kelli Collis from Fresh 94.7 FM.
There will be a cover to enter the Ballroom after 10:00 p.m. Last year the Sundress Party was held at the Georgetown Waterfront.
The Junkies are on the air weekdays from 5:00 to 10:00 a.m. on WJFK 106.7 FM “The Fan.”
Photo courtesy CBS Radio
Last Chance to Comment on Bikeshare Plan — Today is the last day to comment on Arlington’s Capital Bikeshare Expansion Plan. Comments on the six year strategic growth plan can be submitted online through the end of the day today. [Arlington Transportation Partners]
Republicans Pounce on Garvey’s Streetcar Abstention — Hoping to capture a seat on the County Board this November, Republicans are planning on hammering away at the current all-Democrat Board for approving the Columbia Pike streetcar. The GOP is also planning to pounce on their Democratic opponent, Libby Garvey, for abstaining from the streetcar vote while expressing skepticism about the plan. Republican Matt Wavro will face Garvey and Green Party candidate Audrey Clement on the Nov. 6 ballot. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Officials Puzzled by Estate Gift — Arlington officials can’t fathom why a late resident left the county five percent of his estate in his will. The County Board had to vote to refund some of the money after whoever is in charge of executing the will made an error and sent the county $51,000 more than it was actually owed. [Patch]
Paisano’s Named Best Pizza by WTOP — Paisano’s has been named the best pizza in the D.C. area by WTOP listeners and website visitors. The local chain has a location near Crystal City at 3650 South Glebe Road. Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, which has a location in Clarendon, placed #4 in the voting. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Christaki
Members of the Nauck community gathered last night (Wednesday) for a softball game featuring radio personalities from WPGC (95.5 FM).
The game — between the WPGC “Naturals” softball team and a team of local residents — was part of the radio station’s “Knocking Violence Out the Park” campaign. The Naturals have previously faced off against teams of police officers and residents in various parts of D.C. and Maryland as part of the campaign.
There was a police presence at last night’s game, which was held at Drew Model Elementary School; a member of the Arlington County Police Department’s gang unit played on the Nauck community team.
Former candidate for County Board Terron Sims, who helped WPGC organize the event, said the game was all about bringing the community together in a fun way.
“This has been great,” he told ARLnow.com. “Everyone came together, we were able to get the permits we needed at the last minute for the field, the station came out, we were able to get the vendors to come out, the community’s out here… having a good time. ”
“The message is… about unifying the community in all our actions, whether it’s taking care of our kids, or crime prevention, or anything of that nature,” Sims continued. “It takes the community as a whole to move forward in a positive manner.”
In addition to the game itself, the event featured food vendors, kids activities, and a voter registration drive.
Kaine Coming to Arlington — Former Virginia governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine (D) will be in Arlington this afternoon. Kaine is scheduled to have an economic discussion with local Latino business and community leaders at 4:00 p.m. The closed event is taking place at The Salsa Room (2619 Columbia Pike).
Cancer Charity Event This Weekend — The second annual Erica Paul Fabulous event will be held at the Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd) on Saturday. The fundraiser runs from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and benefits the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. The ‘Fabulous’ event also celebrates the life of Erica Paul, who died last year, at the age of 29, from metastatic colon cancer. [Clarendon Nights]
Ham Operators to Have a ‘Field Day’ — Arlington County will host its annual “Field Day” exercise for amateur radio operators this weekend. The exercise, held at Minor Hill Park (3400 N. Powhatan Street), is described as part of a nationwide event “during which thousands of Hams across the United States and Canada will operate portable radios and antennas to contact each other, simulating emergency conditions.” [Arlington County]
HOT Lanes Suit Costs County Transportation Funds –Virginia is contributing more than $16.5 million to Arlington’s road maintenance and construction budget for fiscal year 2013, which starts on July 1. But that figure is $100,000 less than it otherwise could have been. The Commonwealth Transportation Board has stripped $100,000 from Arlington’s allocation as retribution for the county’s costly lawsuit against the proposed I-395 HOT lanes project. The money will be used to help pay the legal bills of a former state transportation official who was sued by Arlington as part of its fight against the project. [Sun Gazette]
Arlington Independent Media is in the planning stages of what may eventually become a low power FM community radio station. AIM, best known for its local cable television channel (Comcast channel 69, Verizon channel 38), has already designated funds for the construction of an audio booth in its Clarendon studios to accommodate residents who want to learn more about audio production. The booth is expected to be built by this fall, and will serve as the production hub for a potential radio station.
The station will likely start out as an internet-only streaming station, but may eventually be broadcast on a low power FM frequency if AIM can obtain the necessary FCC permission. That permission is by no means guaranteed, AIM programming coordinator Lauree McArdle said, because extra FM bandwidth is scare in the D.C. area.
Even if special FCC permission is granted, the signal probably won’t reach all of Arlington County, since low power FM signals are limited to 100 watts, which can only reach a radius of about 3.5 miles and is subject to interference from larger radio stations. Given a choice, McArdle says the signal would likely be targeted at the county’s lower income areas.
McArdle says she’s heard from 20 to 30 people in who are interested in helping out with a radio station. With the help of volunteer DJs and hosts, the station would probably broadcast an assortment of live and taped programming 24 hours per day.
“I don’t think we’ll lack for programming, because I have number of people who are interested in talk radio and that sort of thing,” McArdle said. “I think it will be a mix of talk programs as well as, hopefully, some music.”
AIM will be hosting a meeting next week for anyone interested in being a part of a “vibrant and active community radio presence in the county.” The meeting will be held from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, at the AIM studio at 2701-C Wilson Blvd.
If all goes well, McArdle says the radio station could start broadcasting online shortly after the audio booth is completed this fall.
Board Approves $4.5 Million Water Main Project — On Saturday the County Board approved a $4.5 million contract to install a 36-inch water main under Glebe Road and Williamsburg Boulevard. Part of the project will connect the county’s Fort Ethan Allen Pump Station wit the Minor Hill Reservoir, the county’s main water storage facility. “The new main will support future growth and provide back-up for the water supply system during critical repairs,” Arlington County said in a press release. [Arlington County]
Post Blasts Arlington Classroom Visit Policy — Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews is critical of the “knee-jerk restrictions” that prevent parents of prospective Arlington Traditional School students from arranging hour-long personalized classroom visits for themselves. The school system says ATS holds a parent orientation — which includes a 10 minute visit in a kindergarten class — eight times a year, and cannot accommodate the “added disruption” of “customized, one-on-one meetings” for each family that wants to sit in on a class for an hour. [Washington Post]
Yorktown Reaches Regional Final — The Yorktown Patriots football squad beat the Lee Lancers in a 51-15 blowout on Friday night. The Patriots (12-0) will now face the South County Stallions (9-3) in the Division 5 regional final at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25. [Sun Gazette]
If Arlington Ruled Virginia — TBD takes a tongue-in-cheek look at what Virginia might be like if Arlington’s leaders were in charge of the state. [TBD]
Radio Show to Broadcast from Hard Times Tonight — The LaVar Arrington Show with Chad Dukes, heard on 106.7 The Fan, will be broadcasting live today from Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon (3028 Wilson Blvd) from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Redskins tight end Chris Cooley is expected to join the broadcast around 5:30 p.m. to break down the Redskins’ overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Flickr pool photo by Maryva2
Earlier this week, County Manager Barbara Donnellan admitted to the County Board that Arlington’s emergency radio station, 1700 AM, “occasionally went down during critical periods recently” and was difficult to pick up at other times.
Which “critical periods” was she referring to? One ARLnow.com commenter said that he was unable to hear the station during the weekend of Hurricane Irene. There was also the matter of recent earthquakes, flash floods and threats of terrorist attacks.
The Sun Gazette reports that Donnellan promised the Board “regular staff checks to ensure the station is on the air.” But is anybody else listening?