The first question many people ask when we talk about creating a radio station is “What kind of music will it play?”. The answer may be little or none, for a variety of reasons. For starters there are plenty of radio stations playing music. We need to be unique (see our mission statement if you need a reminder). Second, believe it or not, music costs money and we have none yet! It costs money to purchase the song as most of us do, but for a radio station it also costs money EACH TIME we play it on the air. This is because music artists get a royalty payment every time their song is “performed” for an audience, and we have to pay it.
It would also be a poor choice to go on the air with top 40 music that listeners can find on any other commercial radio station. Instead, perhaps determine what music locals like but can’t hear on other radio stations? Perhaps there would be little or no music at all. The goal here is to fill a niche specific to the needs of Colonial Beach. One of the first things to determine is what that niche is.
What can we do to serve the community? We have a great arts base. We could build on that. Talk shows – Interviews with artists? Broadcasts of local bands? Interviews with them, telling their story of how they formed their band? Shows about exceptional CB school students? Interviews with teachers? Local politics discussions? Broadcast of town council meetings? We need to find out what the town cares about and try to fill that need, because a Fredericksburg or DC station is not going to do that. This is the power of local radio.
As a “Community Radio Station”, our possibilities are only limited by the amount of people willing to volunteer their time as well as their money. Some of the things we could accomplish are:
- Promote the town and activities.
- Specialty talk shows or music programs featuring local artists and musicians.
- Promote town organizations – BAMM, the Foundation, the town museum, etc.
- As an educational tools for students in an after school activity.
- Broadcast school games & town council meetings.
- Broadcast church services for shut-ins.
- Special town announcements – school closings, fundraisers, trash pickup & road closures.
- Public safety notifications – flooding, storms.
- Broadcast plays.
It is also worth noting that if you are here to just go on the air and play your favorite music as a DJ right away, you’re in the wrong place! This is not a sustainable way to run a radio station. There are many more behind the scenes tasks that have to happen to keep things on the air that doing a radio show should be a reward for those volunteers who have put in the hard work behind the scenes. Nobody should be allowed to just “go on the air”.