A steady stream of local musicians, would-be volunteers and well-wishers made their way to the Tiffany Center’s eighth-floor studio where Portland Radio Project celebrated its launch to the FM dial at 99.1 Friday, May 22, 2015.
After streaming a rich blend of rock, folk and blues for more than a year, PRP.fm volunteers were thrilled to be broadcasting over the airwaves. The station offers a new, commercial-free, community-centric model for music radio – highlighting local artists, nonprofits and businesses.
Dan Packard and Valerie Ring, stalwarts of local radio, kicked off the all-day party at 7:00 a.m., announcing the station’s FCC-required call sign, KSFL- LP (for Smart, Friendly, Local – Low Power).
One of PRP.fm’s earliest supporters, Portland blues legend Norman Sylvester, aka “The Boogie Cat,” led a long list of local performers who dropped in to say, “Thanks for featuring local musicians.” Along with playing a local artist every 15 minutes, PRP.fm opens the studio to “Drop-In Sessions,” interviews with local artists who are invited to perform live in studio.
(A recent Kickstarter campaign successfully funded a portable stage that, when built, will accommodate larger groups than those who now squeeze into the station’s tiny studio.)
“This is a huge step toward our dream of creating a non-commercial radio station that is a true community hub for local arts and culture,” declared PRP.fm founder Rebecca Webb. With the radio ownership consolidation of recent decades, many local ties have given way to programming from national media conglomerates, according to Webb. “We believe local voices, those of musicians, nonprofits and businesses, are at the heart of vibrant civic life, and should be heard.”
In addition to incorporating local artists into its regular playlist at least four time per hour, PRP.fm also produces the award-winning weekly series, Community Voices, featuring local nonprofits.