Crowdfunding Attempt for Ferndale FM
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Crowdfunding Attempt for Ferndale FM

  1. #1

    Crowdfunding Attempt for Ferndale FM

    Good luck with that (sarcasm). While the enthusiasm is admirable, the FM band is crowded enough. Why not try an AM?

  2. #2
    Much cheaper to run an FM. Unless you're doing Part 15.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Houston, Texas
    The best reason not to go AM is that you have invested in an engineering study and filed for a Low Power FM and then received permission to construct the station from the FCC. Part 15 if iffy in coverage depending on many factors and simply not a popular band with most radio listeners. A part 15 would not cover an area anywhere close to what a LPFM would.

    People say the FM band is crowded enough. The FCC decides that through a set of rules an applicant must abide by. If it is legal and allowed, which it obviously is, then the band is therefore not too crowded.

    We might both agree the roads are too crowded but new drivers are licensed and more vehicles are sold. So, I understand what you are saying. I just want to get across a prevailing attitude (not saying your attitude is such) that any new station should not be allowed because you cannot hear a distant station implies the LPFM is somehow breaking the law or the translator is. By FCC rules, it wouldn't get their approval if that was the case. Stations are allowed a certain geographic area that is their's based on the class of station they are. The FCC will not permit a station on the same or nearby frequency within certain distances that are determined by the class of station and the location of said stations. It is true if the dial is not full a station can go further than the area it is allocated but no new station is ever permitted to build if its signal encroaches the area the other station is allowed according to the FCC. Exceptions are those stations that choose to operate illegally (and I'm not talking pirates but licensed stations). In my radio experience most all stations are run 'by the book'.

    I hate to say it but a LPFM applicant is in much better shape when they have the money already. The applicant might love radio and do about anything to get a station going but the reality is for most people it's just another listening option on the radio dial and chances are it won't be one they listen to, so they have none of your enthusiasm. I would say chances are slim the crowdfunding with get them the $15,000 unless they have rounded up incredible interest among much more than a few people. I've seen stations get zero from crowdfunding. I have seen it work but in most cases it is one or two donors that put up about 98% of the cash at the last minute.

  4. #4
    A good example of the I hate FM crowd. At the end of the video, they have a change of heart for a station (and the FM dial) that they have no clue what the programming is? I wouldn't count on the people in the video being loyal listeners. Let us see who really steps up to the plate and donates. More important, will funds and volunteers continue after the sign on. In most cases it starts with a very enthusiastic group, and when the new wears off it's done.

    In all fairness, there are several LPFM success stories.
    96.3 Demopolis AL.
    100.5 Meridian Mississippi.

    92.5 Frisco City/Monroeville

  5. #5

    More news on this effort. The idea now, or perhaps this was always the intent, is to broadcast from the 'Rust Belt Market' on the site of the former Federal's Department Store, later Old Navy store at the corner of 9 Mile & Woodward for a very low 3 mile radius. Bless their hearts for trying.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Houston, Texas
    Groove 1670 makes a great point. I call it that new car smell. There's all the excitement of a new car until you start driving it. Then it becomes just a car. Lots of LPFM operators see the generosity of those that help with a one-time gift that helps them start but usually doesn't continue. After you're on the air your core base is weary and ready for a rest and the excited givers at the start have felt they have done enough.

    The biggest issue I see with LPFM is the lack of radio knowledge. I'm talking well rounded knowledge. I know lots of folks in radio that don't know radio because they never got to experience it from all sides. If you were a jock for years or sold commercials for years, you likely don't understand the full operation, just that part of the operation you worked. And many LPFM stations don't even have the luxury of having help from those that worked, say, on air or in sales. In many respects it is like starting a restaurant having never worked in a restaurant and your 'person in the business' flipped burgers at McDonald's in high school. By LPFM's very nature, licenses are doled out to groups with no radio experience.

    Many do not understand the similarities between commercial and non-commercial radio. Both program for listeners. Commercial radio sells those listeners to advertisers. Non-commercial radio does too, but it is called Underwriting. Too many seem to think underwriting that benefits the business somehow destroys programming but if the business did not benefit, why bother offering it because the business sure wouldn't care to buy in to the idea. Some think the listener will love the station so much they'll contact them and hand them a blank check. I ask them how many times they've done that themselves.

    Some think if they just serve the underserved the money will magically appear. I'm not saying don't do that but there is always a reason the underserved aren't all over the other stations and it is usually financial. And that's where the argument starts. The thinking is if they have their financial house in order, programming suffers, being manipulated by the finances. The reality is every station and all programming is controlled by the finances. Without money it doesn't exist. I see many stations taking an attitude that they quit their job and go help the disadvantaged and poor all day (a very noble act in my book) only to wind up living under a bridge themselves because they did not take care of their financial side. To those I say money is not evil but a tool that allows you to serve.

    There are quite a few rather successful to amazingly successful LPFM stations. They're not all run by radio people either. Some are well meaning and sincere community groups that do their brand of community radio. I know of an LPFM doing over $10,000 a month. They actually have some paid employees now and they super serve their small coverage area. They think they have about 5% listening.

    There are many exceeding $20,000 a year but many many more unable to even bring in $5,000 a year. In fact a friend is off the air. He only does about $200 a month and now he has to replace an essential piece of equipment, needing $3,500. The saddest part is all his hard work will have likely become a distant memory by the time he gets back on, so it will be as if he is starting again at square one. He thinks of selling Underwriting as begging for money so he hates to do it. If he didn't have that attitude he'd likely have the cash he needed on hand. He knows firsthand the hardest part of fundraising is when you have no on air signal to do it with.

  7. #7
    Considering their operating strategy, if they can obtain the startup costs, they might be able to sustain it. They'll have a place to house the equipment without additional rent in the existing flea market like operation that is the Rust Belt Market. Assuming they can mount the antenna on the roof, it is three story building, I believe, and this might be possible for LPFM equipment, that would be another cost avoidance. The market does attract a lot of hipsters and ex-yippies, so they might get some advertisers wanting to reach those people, if they can even take ad money to defray operating costs, I'm not sure of the rules, perhaps they can do mentions in exchange for donations? So, maybe they can pull it off. Doesn't really affect me one way or the other, but I admire their tenacity in trying.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Houston, Texas
    Many LPFM stations use donated studios and sometimes their city allows a rooftop antenna versus being forced to lease tower space. It sure doesn't hurt to have a secondary studio location secured either. I was told this one LPFM managed to get the back of an art gallery to donate studio space. When the art gallery saw how many people were coming and going, they were not so keen on the idea and asked them to find another place. It took a few months and they had to move their whole facility (rooftop antenna installation, studio, transmitter, file to the FCC to move, have an engineering study done, etc.).

    LPFM stations can offer Underwriting (just like you hear on NPR and PBS TV). They can acquire grants and accept listener donations. None of these options is easy. Many do not understand sales or they hate sales or both.

    In radio sales you have to educate the client and demonstrate a need, then present the product from the business owner's perspective. It is easiest for me if I take time to learn about the business because I was use business-specific reasons the station can help them. This is a multi-visit process. It is not a "look at this, wanna buy it?". It's not rocket science, but actually pretty simple (to me) but you have to invest the time and effort to earn the sale, many times a month or two before they're ready to say yes. You have to listen to the business owner to learn how you might help them.

    I applaud those jumping in to radio. I just hope they'll be willing to understand radio and apply what they learn. Sure, some LPFMs are hobby stations for their group but many are well-intending groups who get their LPFM for all the right reasons. For many, the lack of understanding how radio works either spells their demise or diminishes their effectiveness. It's like a school football team with a good coach and players with the right mindset and goals taking to the field each week only to be crushed by the opposing team. You hate to see the team with all that drive and spirit get beat down each week. A couple of minor changes can make the difference. A few groups that jump in are well organized and flourish with their LPFM.

    My advice for LPFMs: don't try to reinvent radio because you have to reinvent the listener first. Don't hate the other stations but learn all you can from them and embrace what they do applying it to your flavor of radio. Find people in radio to help you, specifically those who have worked in the on air, sales and management ends because they have the knowledge to guide you. Stay true to your mission statement. And as in war, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Every station on the dial wants your listener and is waging war to get them.

  9. #9

    An article on this station. Some interesting comments on the state of radio. I have to commend them on making this labor of love work for them and their listeners.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Our Conferences
Useful Contacts

Contact Us