KQBM-FM, the first full-power FM radio station to serve the central Sierra Nevada mountains, has been on the air for some time now, enthusiastically received by listeners from Valley Springs to Groveland, and points in between. Ironically, it’s not being received in West Point where the studio is located.
Why? A very logical reason — geography. Although the antenna is high up atop Fowler’s Peak outside Angels Camp, all the hills and valleys around it determine where the radio waves will go.
So the original group of volunteers must return to the hard work of fundraising to obtain the materials needed for signal boosters to redirect those waves to the parent community area. The group must also find appropriate locations for the booster antennas and obtain them through purchase, rent or, hopefully, gifting from a generous landowner. And they still have to pay the monthly bills.
Hard work is no stranger to the group of determined volunteers, who had the idea and hopes for a community station. Within the original three-year deadline set by the FCC, a building for a studio had to be found and adapted, expensive equipment and ordinary furniture items had to be found, and transmission lines had to be rigged to reach the antenna.
While all this was going on, KQBM began streaming at www.kqbm.org so that local programmers could build up an audience. Locals can hear the station this way, at least.
KQBM-FM is a nonprofit station, completely supported by listener. The Blue Mountain Coalition for Youths and Families is its parent organization. During the relatively short time the station has been on the air, support has been coming in through donations and advertising, not only locally but from communities receiving the station for the first time. However, a lot more money has to be raised. The KQBM founders hope they can get the station received in its home town soon.
The station operates 24/7. There are live programmers Monday through Friday as well as some syndicated programming. The schedule is currently being changed to reflect the new programming on the website, where the total schedule is posted.
For more information or to donate, please go online to www.kqbm.org or visit the KQBM Facebook page.