Friday, 19 July 2024

KPFZ prepares for April launch

LAKE COUNTY – For the people who have worked for years to bring the dream of a full-power, community radio station to Lake County, there were some nervous moments Saturday afternoon.

For months, volunteers with Lake County Community Radio/KPFZ have been getting everything in order – from funds to a new studio to a tower on Mt. Konocti – in order to go on the air this spring.

KPFZ's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license requires it to be on the air and in full operation by 3 a.m. April 25, said Andy Weiss, the station's general manager and one of its founders. The station will be located at 88.1 FM on the radio dial.

On Saturday, it was test time for KPFZ's broadcast abilities.

The station had already run into issues with equipment on the top of Mt. Konocti, which cost the station an unexpected $25,000 to fix, said Weiss.

So the station's loyal group of volunteers didn't know what to expect until Saturday afternoon rolled around.

“The big, dramatic moment came when we linked Mt. Konocti to our Lakeport studio, and up until that moment we didn't know that would be successful,” Weiss said.

But it worked, and the station stayed on the air between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., said Weiss.

That Saturday afternoon test clears the way for the station to get started broadcasting officially, said Weiss. “We'll be on the air sometime mid-April, formally.”

With the equipment in working order and the FCC license in place, Weiss said the station could be on the air tomorrow. But they still have some details to work out, including some other testing and final preparations for the studio, which isn't ready for broadcasting just yet.

There's also the training of volunteer programmers to finish up, said Weiss.

The technical difficulties on the mountaintop set the station's funding back a bit, said Weiss, which is why station representatives approached the city of Lakeport for some funding assistance.

The station gave a presentation to the council last week and asked for a grant. “We were looking to Lakeport to help make up that shortfall,” said Weiss.

Because the station will be located in downtown Lakeport, offer broadcast training and produce programming aimed at businesses, station board member Taira St. John told Lake County News that the station was seeking a grant of redevelopment funds.

The station's representatives met with City Manager Jerry Gillham and Community Development Director Richard Knoll who also acts as executive director of the city's redevelopment agency to discuss the idea before it was taken to the council.

At the Feb. 19 meeting, both Gillham and Knoll told the council that using redevelopment funds would be justified because of the services the station plans to offer the community.

The council directed staff to continue discussing funding options with the station.

“I would say the council was pretty supportive of what we offered,” said Weiss.

St. John said another meeting between city staff and station members is expected to take place later this week.

A final package could consist solely of a grant or a mix of a grant with a loan, Weiss added.

Once on the air, Weiss said the station's financial prospects are very promising, especially with underwriters, who are “just coming in in streams.”

Underwriters will get a good deal in return, said Weiss, because they'll have access to people who care about their community.

For more about the station visit

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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