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City of Boston seeks renewal for WBCA-LPFM community radio station operated by BNN Media

Listeners and residents can view the application and to obtain more information online.

The City of Boston, licensee of WBCA-LP 102.9 FM, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to renew the Low Power FM radio license for WBCA-LPFM, Boston’s community radio station operated by Boston Neighborhood Network Media (BNN Media.)

Listeners and residents wishing to view this application and to obtain more information about how to file comments and petitions, can visit the FCC website and search in the list of (WBCA-LP’s) filed applications.  The current license and renewal application is posted online.

Boston applied for the initial license in the aftermath of the Marathon bombing in 2013 as a vehicle for public safety and public service announcements. Subsequently, the loss of many unlicensed community radio stations in Boston prompted the City to partner with BNN Media to open up the new station as a forum for community voice, civic engagement and local performing artists.

"BNN has developed fabulous local programming opportunities for radio programming on WBCA," said Glenn Williams, General Manager for BNN.  "As a community and local media resource, we truly represent the people and the cultures of Boston's diverse neighborhoods. BNN looks forward to this renewal process so that we can continue to make WBCA a vital part of our community media portfolio."  

WBCA’s early evening broadcasts features current BNN programming, including BNN Live studio programs.  BNN also offers late evening programming as a resource for local artists, bands, musicians, poets and performers. 

Boston's WBCA 102.9 FM operates 6:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. daily under a shared and mutually exclusive (MX) agreement with LaSell College and Global Ministries because multiple qualified community organizations applied for the one available LPFM license for the Boston market in 2013.  This mutually exclusive (MX) agreement was created under FCC guidelines.  The signal is shared with Lasell College from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Global Ministries from 2:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. daily.  

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, Verizon 2161) and BNN "Community TV" (Comcast 23, RCN 83, Verizon 2160), and streams all programming on the BNN Media website.

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.

In 2017, Senator Ed Markey and former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn visited BNN Media’s Charles Beard Media Center to celebrate the opening of the radio station

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