103.3 AshevilleFM began broadcasting across Buncombe County on Monday, May 18th, at 10a.m, and you can celebrate by donating today! The 100-watt signal, as permitted by FCC regulations, will transmit from the station’s antenna, located on top of the Hotel Indigo in downtown Asheville. Check out the story in the Asheville Citizen Times here! The transmission will result in a broadcast radius of approximately 10 miles. The station’s Low-Power FM (LPFM) construction license was granted, an opportunity which had not been available since 2000.
103.3 AshevilleFM is an all volunteer-run, community radio station created by Friends of Community Radio, a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity. The idea for AshevilleFM was hatched in early 2009, when radio lovers from Western North Carolina who wanted to hear community voices and programming reflective of the concerns and interests of their neighbors organized to start an online radio station with the hope of eventually obtaining a license to broadcast on the dial.
“Freeform radio isn’t being done anywhere else in Western North Carolina. It’s not Pandora. It’s not Spotify. It’s your neighbors choosing what to say and play on the airwaves – not a big corporation trying to sell you something,” says Kim Roney, station manager of AshevilleFM. “The reason we can put Spanish-language programming on the radio at 6 p.m. on a weekday, is because we’re not focused on target marketing for just one demographic, but on the needs and well-being of our entire community. Freeform radio is a new concept for our community and that means jazz, hip-hop, or a local artist’s newest tape release can be heard in the same hour along with a news piece about immigration reform or a local perspective on world politics. AshevilleFM is a platform for our city to live, work, and play together.”
AshevilleFM has been broadcasting online since September 12th, 2009, and now receives an average of 1.7 million hits to the website each month with a global listenership. The station’s schedule currently broadcasts 52 locally-produced weekly programs, curated and supported by more than 80 volunteers.
“AshevilleFM hitting the airwaves will be an excellent addition to the music community that it wholeheartedly supports,” says Matt Schnable, co-owner of Harvest Records. “We were lucky to be part of (AshevilleFM’s) first simulcast at our five-year anniversary festival, Transfigurations, and I am very excited to watch and listen to the future endeavors of AshevilleFM as it blossoms!”
The station’s connection to supporters, non-profits, and local businesses are imperative to the success of 103.3 AshevilleFM. "Over the last year we raised almost $30,000 from hundreds of folks – from business owners to community members across Western North Carolina– all to support a change in broadcast radio as well as our mission to provide everyone in the listening area a voice on the radio," says Friends of Community Radio Board president, Erik Mattox. "We’re proud to now be able to share our gift of community radio with more people."