KKRN. The Beginning.
On April 15, 2006, Redding's Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) coordinated an open community meeting between persons interested in bringing community radio to the area and Todd Urick, Director of Davis based Community Radio Advocacy Group, Common Frequency. Todd came to the area to encourage groups to take advantage of a very special opportunity that was approaching. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was expected to open a rare 7-day application window for "Non-commercial Educational Radio Station Licenses" (NCE). This type of license permits non-profit organizations to operate radio stations that serve the needs and interests of their communities. This window was expected to be one of the last for applications for a full power non-commercial station as there are very few FM frequencies that remain available anywhere. First, potential applicants would have to find out if a frequency was available in their area. Then they would apply for a license, which would require a non-profit agency to be responsible for the station, $5000 for the engineering and legal work on the application, and a lot of hard work.....forever. Then, they would have to wish for a lot of good luck.
Staci Wadley, a lifelong lover of radio and Executive Director of Acorn Community Enterprises, a community resource center located in Round Mountain, attended the April meeting with Common Frequency and CRG. She felt inspired by the possibilities that a community radio station could bring to the region, especially the small, mountain communities east of Redding, which have been the focus of Acorn's community-building efforts since 1998. From the beginning, the vision was of an independent media outlet that brought news, information, culture and music that wasn't typically heard in this region, with considerable attention to locally relevant topics and events. In alignment with Acorn's mission to promote healthy families and communities, Staci imagined that the volunteer-driven station could provide young people with opportunities to gain useful skills and work experience, while also offering adults a way to connect with others and contribute to the community in creative and meaningful ways.
In October 2006, Staci initiated the first step by finding a radio engineer specializing in NCE licenses and paid from her own pocket for a study to discover if a frequency was available in our area. Luckily, 88.5 FM was available and would cover a large area of Shasta County. Staci presented the idea to the Acorn Board of Directors and asked that the agency apply for the station and the Acorn Board agreed to go for it! Staci and the Acorn Board went to work to create the needed infrastructure to apply for the NCE license and in July 2007, a community meeting was held to raise the money to pay for the application. Fortunately, a small group of amazingly optimistic local (and some non-local) folks pitched in over $3000 toward the application costs. The remaining $2000 was raised in the next few weeks. The next step was for Acorn to hire an engineer and attorney to work out the details of the application to the FCC. It would be a roll of the dice, but everyone felt hopeful.
Bobbi Tryon, a ball of energy with a passion for community radio, joined Staci to help with the application process. There was a lot of work to be done, but they did it. The FCC announced the filing window would be open from October 12, 2007 to October 19, 2007. Thanks to Staci and Bobbi, Acorn was successful in getting the application in during this window, along with 3,559 other groups across the nation! The FCC had to review all the applications and score them for specific criteria to decide who would be awarded a NCE license. Now the waiting began.
In January 2008, we got the good news that our application had been approved! Our hopes were realized. Acorn Community Enterprises was to be issued a NCE "Construction Permit", which is the preliminary step before getting an actual license. The construction permit gave us three years to raise the money, build the station and begin broadcasting. Failure to do so would result in the forfeit of the license. 2011 was our new deadline!
At this point, we started a "Radio Advisory Council", which consisted of a group of motivated, interested, and dedicated local community members. The Council met monthly to plan and problem solve how to build this community station. We also immediately began fundraising. Bobbi came up with the idea of our signature "KKRN Pancake Breakfasts", which became the heart of community outreach and local fundraising. We also pursued lots of grants. Grant-writing extraordinaire, Lynn Dorroh, worked closely with Bobbi, Alice Hoveman, Sorca O'Connor, and Staci to apply for the Public Telecommunications Facilities Fund (PTFP) Grant that was due in February 2008. This federal grant specifically helps public television and radio station to buy equipment to broadcast to their communities. They worked very hard on this complex grant and met the deadline to get it turned in. Sadly we were turned down. We continued to apply to other foundations for grants, host pancake breakfasts and dances, and sent out letters to friends and businesses asking for donations.
In December 2008, Lynn Dorroh, Bobbi and others worked really hard and applied again for the federal PTFP grant. The deadline was December of 2008 for the 2009 grant round. The funding for the PTFP grant was being threatened by Congress and there was no guarantee that the 2009 round would actually happen. We crossed our fingers again.
In early 2009, we found out that we had been awarded the Federal PTFP grant for $82,802! This was ½ the total project cost, including equipment and labor to build the radio station studios and set up the tower. The Federal grant required that we match it dollar for dollar. Over the rest of 2009 and early 2010 we continued to have local fundraising events and write grants. Lynn Dorroh was instrumental in helping us obtain our first matching grant from the California Endowment and over the next year Staci wrote successful grants to the Sierra Health Foundation, The Shasta Regional Community Foundation's McConnell Community Partners Grant, Shasta Regional Community Foundations McConnell Leadership Fund Grant , and The Redding Rancheria. We had raised the money!!
In the spring and summer of 2010 Staci worked hard to put into place the details of the radio tower location and lease, meet federal accounting guidelines, and select and order equipment. "Freaky Fred" Newell, local hero, was key in helping to deal with the tower site issues. He was familiar with the radio towers in the area and made it possible for us to navigate our way up in the hills and find what we needed. In September of 2010, after a lease was in place we started work on the tower site. The antenna was delivered in the middle of the night to a rest stop on Highway 299E by two truck drivers who drove practically non-stop from Maine so the tower crew from Sacramento could install it before the snow came to the mountaintop. Freaky Fred and Engineer Mike Brown from Portland then spent the next week installing the broadcast equipment inside the tower building on top of Hatchet Mountain.
In December of 2010 work on the studios began. The Hill Country Health and Wellness Center agreed to trade space in one of their buildings for use of Acorn's restaurant-grade kitchen equipment. Local radio lover and contractor Don Fennell volunteered to lead the remodel the space into two radio studios. This was no small job, walls were erected, electrical work completed, paint, carpet, and everything else was done. Don had lots of volunteer help from local community members and that made it all possible.
In early 2011, Mike Brown, a contract engineer of Brown Broadcast Services of Portland Oregon, along with his indispensible wife, Betty, worked on installing and wiring all of the radio equipment. This took several months of work and was finally completed. KKRN was ready to go on the air.
On the morning of June 28, 2011, KKRN Community Radio had its first broadcast hosted by Don Fennell with guests Staci Wadley and Bobbi Tryon. A dream was realized and a journey complete. The next exciting chapter of this story is currently happening now and may be titled "KKRN an evolution......."
There are thousands of details, stories and incidents left out of this account, but this is only meant to give you a brief overview of the work and dedication it took to create a community radio station and to acknowledge the history of KKRN up to the point we went on the air. There are a thousand thank yous owed to so many people who have been key in making this community station happen The only reason everyone wasn't mentioned by name in this summary was to keep it as brief as possible. We've tried to thank everyone in the list below, but please know that if your name was omitted, it is an error deeply regretted (please call us if you were forgotten!). The names on the following list should be honored as having been vital to KKRN's existence.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Many people did many different jobs and gave of themselves. Thank you all so much, you are forever part of KKRN!
Staci Wadley, Tammy Allan, Paul Findlay, Katrina Cantrell, Bobbi Tryon, Freaky Fred Newell, Sorca O'Connor, Sue Lynn, Ellen Sugg, Dickie Magidoff, Randy Compton, Verena Larsen, Beth Messick, Mica & Melissa Hebert, Jessie Mazzini, Alice Hoveman, Lynn Dorroh, Bill Watson, Terri & Gary Orwig, Theresa Robbins, Tom Stockton, Donna & Richard Snyder, Larry & Loretta Russell, Bill & Catherine Camp, Claudia Fletcher, Jane Anderson, Miriam Edelweiss, Nathan Schofield & Guadalupe Orozco, Rick & Vicki Everett, Emily & Robert Mellon, Gail Kirkland, Henry & Jean Pratt, Willaim & Jane Fischer, Jeff Bryan/DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, Eric Rudnick & Deborah Sutcliffe, Sarah Betts.
Committee Members, early donors, volunteers
Don Fennell, Acorn Board of Directors, Doug Craig, Diane Lucido, Diane James, Bob Speer, Suzanne Wall, Rhoda Haberman, Doug Bennett, Dr. James Logan, Cascade Action Now, Citizens For Responsible Government, Mike & Betty Brown, Dave Hammock, Martina Tran & Ginny Berson at the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, Michael Couzens, Radioactive Gavin, Bob Christensen, Margaret Weaver, Val Hatchett, Blaze, Margaret Jensen, Libby Dunlap, Fred Mayer, Michelle Gazzigli, Mauro & Laureen Oliviera, Everyone who has eaten pancakes or danced at one of our fundraisers!
Studio construction, donations, entertainment or labors of love:
Don Fennell-for the master contractor services
James Wheeler-drywall pro
Mark Corzo-Electrical wizard
Mica Hebert-master carpenter
Bob Speer-Master carpenter
Jeff Taylor-RIP-Jeff passed away during the building of the station but not before he helped to build a community radio station!
Paul Findlay- drywall helper
Chris Abel-Jones-lifter of things and helper
Bill Shockley-drywall and general help
Bill Watson-drywall and general help
Gary Orwig-drywall/general helper
Tom Stockton-master carpenter
Mike Stetler-general helper
Freaky Fred Newell-Carpet master
Doug Wakefield-Carpet master
Beth Messick-Expert Painter
Donna Snyder-Expert Painter
Ken Malat-Expert Painter
Hill Country Maintenance Crew: who helped us and tolerated our construction
Richard Hardie/Lynn Dorroh-Hill Country Executive Leadership
Raymond and Jessie-Hill Country Technological Professionals
Beth Freeman at Shasta Regional Community Foundation
Janet O'Neil at the Record Searchlight
Afton & Brandon Fitzgerald-for collecting donations!
Todd Urick-for bringing the possibility to us!
Heavy Dose of Blues Band-the music!
Davey Strawn & Dale Pinkham-the music!
Nick Ciampi-the music!
Noah Everett-web page support
Katherine Cowherd-webmaster extraordinaire
Jessie Benton-Tech/installation help
Melissa Hebert-excellent program guide maker
Jeff Klein/Klein Equipment Services: Use of equipment and skill
Russ Turner for the wood
Rumchukas for the wood
Larry Russell for coordinating donations and donating $ and materials
Pattern Energy for plowing the tower site
Sierra Nevada Brewing for $ and beer
Frank at Meeks Hardware for the discounts
Paul Friebel at Consolidated Electric Distributors for the materials donations
Scott Brulc of Scott's Glass in Burney for the discounts and donation