Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Prospects for buying a local, licensed radio station

During the spring months of 2015, I embarked upon a scheme to bring my hobby radio stations, Troubadour 1710 and Liberty & Justice 1640, to downtown areas of North Central Massachusetts and the Nashoba Valley through a network of micro AM transmitters. It quickly became evident, however, that this objective would require way too much work and persistence, with insignificant gains in visibility, listenership, and financial support. It was also a potential technical nightmare, keeping all transmitters on air on all sites in remote locations that I would have no control over and no way to monitor. Furthermore, paying a monthly rent to use a transmitter site was totally out of the question because I have, at the current time, absolutely no money. My living expenses have also gotten worse over the past few months, thanks mostly to the real estate industry, whose pathological greed knows no end.

I love the freedom and do-it-yourself craftsmanship of Part 15 radio. But after 11 years as a Part 15 broadcaster, I begrudgingly have to admit that its potential remains solely in the hobby realm. At current power levels and confined mostly to the AM expanded band, it can only serve as a small pocket of defiance where a regressive local radio establishment has disenfranchised large portions of the population they were licensed to serve. Even a chain of Part 15 signals can never truly compete with that local radio establishment and offer an alternative that is just as easily accessed by the entire community. Furthermore, unlicensed stations have no standing with the FCC even when they are legal.

I experienced this in a big way back in July and it is the reason why Troubadour 1700 is now Troubadour 1710. Frequency moves by high powered licensed stations can catch you off guard, just when you thought the FCC was no longer granting frequency changes or approving new stations that could effect your Part 15 operation. When that happens, it often takes weeks of research and work, including the decision for a new frequency, switching over one or more transmitters to that frequency, publicizing the frequency change, and eventually changing over any internet URL's and email addresses that may have been based upon the old frequency. It's a disrupting process that wastes a lot of time better spent on programming or community outreach.

So, since midsummer, I have evolved back toward the goal of acquiring a currently licensed station, hopefully in the North Central Massachusetts region, where my programming and values are so DESPERATELY needed on the airwaves. But this time, in spite of my worsening immediate poverty, I actually have a concrete hope of eventually obtaining the funding I need... at least enough for a large down payment and start up costs for a small, modest office and "studio."

My parents have been trying to sell 5-plus acres of undeveloped land they still own in Connecticut. The land is located next to where they built a home in the early 1970's and had lived until 2013. Back in the summer, my mother said to me that whenever the land sells, they will give the proceeds to me. The land is currently valued just comfortably into the six digit range. My father had purchased all the land in the area, including the lot where he eventually built a house, back in the mid 1950's with $500 he borrowed from my mother's step-father. (Such were the days.) Since the conversation with my mother, I have assisted my parents by listing the property in a couple of on-line publications including the New Haven edition of Craig's List. There have been no serious inquiries since that time. I feel it will eventually sell, and hopefully to a real homesteader who puts up a nice little barn, grows his own vegetables, and keeps a few farm animals as pets. But given the location, just a few miles from the Fairfield County line, and the suburban, upper middle class mindset of those who have moved into the area in recent decades, it will probably sell to yet another overpaid consumerist with an unsustainable lifestyle. At this point, I'm so desperate, I'll take what I can get, even if I have to hold my nose during the process.

Right now there is an AM station in North Central Massachusetts that appears to have been merely a stepping stone in the owner's objective of building a network of small FM stations. It is redundant, unnecessary, and controlled by yet another religious broadcaster. Doesn't Fitchburg, Leominster, Ayer, and the Nashoba Valley FINALLY deserve a local, community minded radio station with competent, educated management whose brains have not been sucked out by a childish, toxic religion or a fascist political ideology? I sure think so. I may have to funnel the absolute best of Troubadour 1710 and Liberty & Justice 1640 into a single station for a while. Nevertheless, I am determined to do two things:

1) Wake people up through talk programming that exposes the total fraud promoted by the competing stations, along with insights into the kind of society humans were really designed for, plus the political and economic means required for establishing such a society.

2) Revive Walden 1120's music format in some form in the local region. This goal has remained unchanged since April 1997 when that poor station was unjustly driven to its inevitable death by a corrupt, mentally ill manager who should have never been allowed anywhere near a radio station.

In the meantime, I am merely trying to survive, day to day, and it is not easy. For a number of reasons, I am now food insecure but I am not starving yet either. The beans that come from my tiny garden plot and the (delicious) fruit from a wild apple tree a mile or so down the road make the difference between a meal and something short of one. I try to make food last as long as possible and I only go food shopping when I absolutely have no other choice. Everything else goes to paying high monthly expenses and outstanding dental bills that were too high to be covered entirely by insurance.

I've been hunting for better jobs and I finally have an interview for one lined up later this week. However, in order for me to respond to any ad, the employer's total compensation offer must work out to a minimum of $30k per year or $15 an hour for part-time work. NO EXCEPTIONS! If you are job hunting, you should have that requirement, too. If they don't meet it, don't work for them and don't buy from them! I am sick and tired of poverty and I am fed up with prosperous business owners who insist on paying poverty wages. (I'll take revenge on them through programming when I get my station.) This prospective job pays well over 30K during the first year and the firm's very business appears to be assisting working people. I'll see if they live up to their hype.

In the meantime, I can't predict when and if a buyer for the property in Connecticut will come along. So I am looking for an enlightened individual, group of individuals, or business with ethical practices who would be empathetic with my aspirations. It MUST be a flexible individual or company (not a straitjacketed ideologue), but nevertheless, obviously devoted to true progressive values such as world peace, economic justice and equality, natural health and health freedom, critical thought, freedom of expression, environmental restoration, free renewable energy innovation, exposing official lies and mass deception, co-ops and community supported agriculture, community involvement in the arts, etc., etc. I am looking for such an individual or enterprise who has the financial means to make an otherwise destitute pauper a qualified radio station buyer in the eyes of the industry. Any funds would be placed in an escrow account that would require signatures from both myself and the other entity in order to be dispensed, and they would only be dispensed if needed or as needed. The ideal amount would be roughly equal to the likely selling price of the property in Connecticut. If and when the property sells, the individual, group, or company can revert to sole ownership of the funds if they haven't been used, or be reimbursed for any that have up to the full selling price of the Connecticut property.

If any of you know of such a qualified individual, group, or company that can help me with the situation I have outlined here, I would appreciate it if you forward this post to them and have them contact me.

My thanks to all who have read this screed to its conclusion.