For nearly a quarter of a century, local radio station KSJD has labored to provide community-based broadcasting for Dolores and Montezuma counties. The station is now working to expand access to broadcasting through a satellite studio in Rico.
The studio opened in 2010, and the station is celebrating this Saturday with an open house to introduce the community to the addition.
We have what we call an outpost studio in Rico, which means that people in Rico can go to the studio and get on the air without having to travel to Cortez, said Tom Yoder, KSJD programming director.
Access is an important component to KSJD, which operates with a community radio model utilizing volunteers to run much of the programming and operations at the station.
Satellite studios have been used in other rural radio markets that also operate on the community model, Yoder said.
It is a model that has been tried in a few other places, especially in the rural area, where stations serve a community of listeners that is spread out, he said. The satellite studios allow operators to come on the air without traveling a long distance.
Yoder said the best example he knows of is a radio station in Washington state that has opened studios on small islands within the stations listenership.
The rural studios allow a broader range of the community to participate in broadcasting, regardless of physical location, Yoder said.
The concept of a studio in Rico has been a subject of discussion for a number of years, Yoder said. KSJD holds a separate Federal Communications Commission licence in the Rico area, using the call letters KICO. The stations presence in the community made the decision easy.
When we got that license a couple of years ago, there was a lot of discussion on the board and among the staff of how to involve the community up there, and this (satellite station) was one idea, Yoder said.
The studio is housed in a room in Ricos J.W. Burley Building, located on Main Street. The studio is set up much like the stations main studio on the campus of Southwest Colorado Community College.
(Disc jockeys) and volunteer programmers up in Rico can go to the Burley Building and up to the studio, and when it is time to go on the air the transmitter switches, Yoder said. It is pretty cool.
Discussions are already underway regarding the possibility of satellite studios in other rural communities in the region.
Weve been kicking around doing it in other places, Yoder said. Maybe Bluff or Dove Creek, or somewhere like that. The idea is to put out two or three little satellites that people can access and have an easier access to the airways.
The importance of access cannot be underestimated in the realm of community radio, Yoder said.
Community radio is really all about local voices and getting people from the community on the air, he said. To make it easier to get on the air is really enhancing the community voice and getting people to engage with media.
The Rico Outpost Studios open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Burley Building.
For more information, contact KSJD at 564-9727.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at [email protected]