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City of Boston announces public meetings for new community radio station

May 12, 2016

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Broadcasting on 102.9 FM under the call sign WBCA, the station will be programmed and operated by Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) as a community radio station.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced three public meetings for the community to discuss a new low-power FM (LPFM) radio station for Boston that will go on-air in June of this year.  Broadcasting on 102.9 FM under the call sign WBCA, the station will be programmed and operated by Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) as a community radio station. BNN will hold three public meetings from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on:

  • May 18, Roxbury Innovation Center at the Bolling Building, 2300 Washington Street, Roxbury
  • June 15, Joseph P. Tynan School, 650 E 4th Street, South Boston
  • June 22, Jackson/Mann K-8 School, 40 Armington Street, Allston

"I encourage residents to come out and discuss how our new community radio station can best serve our neighborhoods," said Mayor Walsh. "I thank BNN for their partnership with the city to create another platform for civic engagement."   

"As a community and local media resource, we know how important it is to gather ideas from our neighbors about different types of programming," said Curtis Henderson, General Manager for BNN. "BNN is looking forward to developing radio programming for Boston's LPFM. We are proud and grateful that Mayor Walsh has asked us to take on the task of developing a radio presence that will truly represent the people and the cultures of Boston's diverse neighborhoods. BNN has the background and experience in community media to make this a success."  

Boston's WBCA 102.9 FM will operate 6:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. daily.  Initially, early evening broadcasting will feature current BNN programming including  BNN Live studio programs and Boston Neighborhood Network News nightly at9:00 p.m.  BNN will also develop late evening programming as a resource for local artists, bands, musicians, poets and performers.  The recent series of "Boston Creates" Town Hall meetings revealed a strong interest by local talent in not only performing music and spoken word, but also engaging local youth in mentoring and training. BNN will also develop new opportunities for community participation.

Because multiple qualified community organizations applied for the one available LPFM license for the Boston market, a sharing agreement was created under FCC guidelines.  The signal is shared with Lasell College from10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., daily and Global Ministries from 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  

BNN Background   
Boston Neighborhood Network Television (BNN) is a nationally recognized community media center and 501(c)(3) nonprofit, that acts as a public forum for all Boston residents, nonprofit and community-based organizations, providing them with affordable training and access to emerging media technologies.  

BNN-TV has proven to be an effective resource serving all communities of Boston, including groups whose first language is other than English..  BNN channels feature over 1,000 programs annually for new immigrants or in languages other than English.  BNN currently offers television programming in:  Spanish, French, Russian, Haitian Creole, Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Irish, Albanian, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole, Greek, and Vietnamese.  

Boston Neighborhood Network currently manages two community television channels: BNN "News and Information" (Comcast 9, RCN 15) and BNN "Community TV" (Comcast 23, RCN 83), and streams all programming onwww.bnntv.org.  

FCC LPFM Background  
In 2013, the FCC opened up applications for Low-Power FM (LPFM) Radio licenses to community and civic organizations.  This was the first license application window in more than 10 years for local Low-Power FM Radio licenses.  The City of Boston applied for the open FCC LPFM license to provide public safety programming to Boston residents via LPFM radio on a regular and frequent basis as a source of news and information and, also, in the event of any local or regional emergency.    

Boston was granted a license-to-construct permit in 2015 for a new FCC Low Power FM (LPFM) radio station.