Radio Free Palmer Mission
We build, inform and celebrate community through local radio.
Back in 2006, a small band of coffee drinkers at Vagabond Blues in Palmer had a dream: a community radio station based in Palmer. They had a vision to promote community engagement through radio. The dream was finally realized in 2011.
Taking the dream to reality involved a great deal of tedious work: filing with the FCC for a construction permit, finding a site, developing the nonprofit structure, fundraising, etc. It all got exciting in fall 2010 when we signed a rental agreement for our transmitter site in Sutton and KTNA gifted us with their old transmitter. In the next year we turned that bare knob into the transmitter site with a tower, hut, electricity, phone, and a fence; procured the studio site and all the equipment; and developed all the policies and procedures to insure compliance with the FCC and the IRS. Our first cry was on Aug 23, 2011 when the test signal went out from the transmitter in Sutton and was heard by the engineer on his car radio.
By October, we were running a 24 x 7 music stream to test the signal and our equipment. KSKA gave us their old translator on Lazy Mountain so our signal could reach the Palmer area. In November 2011, the Dave and Mike Show debuted. It was a 7 am – 9 am drive time talk show. We were on the air with local programming! Since that first show, our local programming has grown – both music and talk shows. In between the shows, we still run our music stream 24 x 7.
We’ve entered into partnerships for special events: live programming from the State Fair, broadcasts of radio plays at Colony High School, and the Alaska Home Companion by the Valley Arts Alliance. We continue to stream the Mat Su Borough Assembly and School Board meetings over the Internet and provide occasional streams of other meetings.
We are an all-volunteer radio station. About 25 volunteers produce shows, staff the office, stream meetings, engineer shows, fundraise, and more because radio is contagious and fun. Our funding is from memberships, underwriting, and small grants. Pick, Click, and Give funds allow us to continue to promote community engagement through radio.