From Sept. 2015 through Aug. 2016 I volunteered at a member of Seattle's in-development low-powered FM public radio stations. That group of community stations is called the "Cohorts", and the station I volunteered at was 107.3 KBFG. During my year at KBFG, the station went from silence to a continous live web cast at KBFG plans to begin broadcasting over the airwaves in 2017 to an estimated audience of 250,000 listeners daily.

I believe that local public radio can be a valuable urban resource for emergency preparedness and management. So I joined a group of volunteers at KBFG to help them bring their station to life. I soon found out that it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to make a radio station become a reality. My title was "Producer" but I supported the station in multiple departments and capabilities.

I supported KBFG’s Production and Capacity & Development Departments in a variety of roles, becoming reputed as a “man of many hats” as I created new content:

PSAs, Station IDs, etc., talent scouting local podcasters to fill the station’s programming schedule, post-production of the programming I signed up, and general support with volunteer recruitment and station administration.

My work drove the station forward in achieving new development milestones, pushing momentum of teamwork to new levels. I wish the station continued success in their struggle to promote public radio for Seattle's listeners.

Seattle Homeless Services PSAs - Nov. 2015

Created, Researched & Recorded by Rex Young

One of the first projects I worked on for the station's Production Committee was a series of five 1-minute Public Service Announcements summarizing homeless support services available in Seattle. These were made to be played at random during radio broadcasting whenever filler for time; the station's software automatically plays such audio files whenever needed.

While the homeless are getting ever-increasing access to the internet to help them through their hard times, radios and cell phones remain some of the cheapest, most widely available communication resources these days for folks on the streets. I created this PSA project as a way to quickly summarize all the various resources available to the homeless at approximately twenty different locations throughout Seattle, and where to find them.

If, for any reason, a homeless person cannot utilize Google to find homeless services in our city, I thought perhaps hearing a voice on the radio telling them everything that's out there all across town (with addresses and phone numbers) might help instead.

Can't view or play my Chirbit audio files below? Try going to my Chirbit audio page.

PSA Seattle Crosstown Homeless Services 111815

PSA Pioneer Square Homeless Services 111815

PSA Northend Homeless Services 111815

PSA Downtown Homeless Services 111815

PSA Central District Homeless Services 111815

What are Radio Station "Carts"?

This was a great introductory lesson in radio broadcasting shared with KBFG volunteers by Tim Flanagan, as the station Production development was starting to solidify. I recommend reading it if you're a newbie thinking about making either radio programming or a podcast. With good knowledge in hand, you can DIY...

Station Carts we'll need

[First draft by Tim Flanagan, 9/2/2015]

Back in the old days, we used "carts"—tape cartridges similar to the 8-track tapes you may have seen at the thrift store—to play everything from music to commercials to station IDs, emergency broadcast system tests, and any other short recording we needed to be able to use multiple times. Shove them into the machine, hit PLAY, and let them roll until they stop on their own, queued up for the next DJ, and then put them back in the rack. We had lots of tall wire cart racks that spun, like a paperback rack at the drugstore. 

It turns out that the term "cart" is still used today, for the many digital recordings that modern broadcasters and podcasters make use of. I was surprised when I encountered it earlier today, but I couldn't find any other term to refer to all the various recordings a broadcaster would use. It's strange to think of a "cart" as a digital file, but I see why it makes sense. So I'll use it here.

We should probably have at least one legal FCC ID recording we can play at the top of each hour. In addition, we'll want some recorded IDs, bumpers, and music beds to help fill out each broadcast hour and bring us to the beginning of the following hour. But these aren't just padding to use up time; they also help define and explain the station to our listeners.

Here are some carts we will want:

  • Legal ID, Hourly: Plays at the top of each hour
  • Legal ID, On-The-Air: Plays at the start of any broadcast period if we are not broadcasting continuously
  • Legal ID, Off-The-Air: Plays at the end of any broadcast period if we are not broadcasting continuously ("We now conclude our broadcast day...")
  • Emergency Alert System Intro ("This is a test...")
  • Emergency Alert System Outro ("This has been a test...")
  • Station Bumpers: Play at the end of breaks, just before a Program Block begins. Remind listeners what station they're tuned to, but need not follow the FCC legal ID format.
  • Show Intros: Introduce a show. Only play at the beginning of the show, not every program block. 
  • Show Bumpers: Play at the end of breaks, just before the second, third, forth Program Blocks begin. Remind listeners what station they're tuned to and what show they're hearing. When available, these would replace the generic Station Bumper.
  • Show Outros: Play at the end of the final Program Block for a show. Credits for the show, how to contact the host, etc.
  • Disclaimer: "The views expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of ..." Could play before any show, but especially opinion and talk shows.
  • About Fulcrum Sweeper: "K[xxx] is a licensee of Fulcrum Community Communications, dedicated to [mission]. We broadcast at 100 watts on a frequency of 107.3 MHz, and our antenna is located [...]. We can be reached at ..." When time permits, this could play at the end of each hour, just before the Legal ID.
  • Promos: 15- and 30-second spots describing other shows on the station. Not the show that's on now.
  • Teasers: Short spots telling listeners about the next show after the one that's on now. "Stay tuned; [some cool show] is coming up next."
  • Music or sound effects beds: Something to fill out the last few seconds of a broadcast hour to avoid dead air. This is the only one that is there purely to use up time.

Some of my 107.3 KBFG Station "Carts"

Recorded by Rex Young

Can't view or play my Chirbit audio files below? Try going to my Chirbit audio page.

KBFG Web Stream Welcome

KBFG Top of Hour ID

KBFG Station Startup

KBFG Station Shutdown

KBFG Get Involved

KBFG Disclaimer

Talking the Mayor into doing a Station ID

One of the last things I did before leaving KBFG was help cover the 2016 Sustainable Ballard event. My fellow volunteers had a tent set up, and ran a remote live web cast on the street. I roamed around the park talking to people, digital microphone in hand. I lucked out and caught Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray just before he left the event for the day. Here's a quick Station ID I got him to say for me. :)

Can't view or play my Chirbit audio files below? Try going to my Chirbit audio page.

KBFG Station ID Mayor Ed Murray

"All will be revealed." - Andy Kaufman

More grassroots radio content to be forthcoming.

This Seattle Site:  Under Construction!

Greenwood / Bitter Lake / Northgate Area
Seattle, Washington

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