Outside of the station’s home in the Tannery Marketplace, the board of North Country Community Radio is pictured. Steve Noyes, left, and executive director Nate Alberts are in the front row. The back row includes, from left to right, Dave Desmarais, Laura Green, and Dan Webb. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
October 03, 2012LITTLETON — A new radio station is in the works. North Country Community Radio will be starting online, then hopefully moving to the FM dial by next summer.
Lisbon native Nate Alberts serves as the station's executive director. He has had a long-time interest in starting a radio station in his native region.
After high school, Alberts moved to Colorado for a few years. Some friends in the Rockies had a small town station. "I realized how important it was for the community," Alberts said. "I really enjoyed being a part of it."
He is modeling the North Country station on his Colorado experience. After returning to our region about six years ago, Alberts concluded that he "wanted to do a station like that."
His motivation for the station stems from the North Country's charms. "This is where I grew up," Alberts said. "This is where my heart is."
With two cozy rooms in the Tannery Marketplace, the station has a spot to prepare for the future. Alberts thanked Ray Cloutier, the building's owner, for assistance in giving the station a home.
Alberts has maintained contact with his Colorado radio friends. Staff there is providing him thoughts on starting a similar station in Littleton.
Recent changes in national law are also helping. Alberts said that a Federal Communications Commission license has been hard to get for many small FM stations. He said the Local Community Radio Act, which became law in 2010, will permit his station to apply for a broadcast license.
Federal rules to implement the law are still being drafted, Alberts said. He believes that he'll receive the needed approvals to go on the air next summer.
Even when the station has a spot on the FM dial, Alberts said the signal will not reach far. He expects 100 watts of power, which will limit the station to a radius of somewhere between 3.5 to ten miles.
"They really do limit you on the low-powered FM license," Alberts said.
The station is not waiting for federal approval to start, however. Online streaming provides the opportunity to gain experience and reach an audience.
Alberts said that the station's web debut will be October 28. There will be a launch party and fundraiser at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem the evening before. Alberts and his band will be one of the performers at that event. The festivities have been dubbed the Roctoberfest Masquerade Ball.
While getting ready for Internet broadcasting, Alberts and friends have been building the station's web page, www.northcountrycommunityradio.com. There is information online about how to volunteer, donate, and gain information on the station's plans.
For now, Alberts said that the station will broadcast on the web from noon to 8 p.m. There seems to be plenty of interest in helping out. Alberts said that the station already has 14 volunteer disc jockeys.
Alberts has a vision of a station that helps the community. In addition to music, content will include weather, announcements about other non-profits, and an entertainment calendar.
His plans also include a lost and found portion of the broadcast. This would allow someone to call the station to report having lost something in town.
Such services go along with the station's vision statement. It states that the station hopes to "provide services to unserved or underserved parts of our community." The station will strive to "enrich the North Country with information," according to its mission statement.
Alberts said that the station will be commercial free. There are plans to have underwriters help with financing. Businesses that serve as underwriters would have their names, numbers, and locations mentioned on the air.
Cloutier believes the station will do well. "They've got it together," he said. "We've been working with them to create the space so that they can get off the ground," Cloutier continued.
He thinks Alberts is a natural to build the station. "Nate is quite energetic and capable," Cloutier concluded.
The station can be reached through its website. Additionally, the phone number at the station is 259-3176.