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Low-power radio station in Van Zandt seeks high-energy community support

VAN ZANDT - South Fork Valley's low-power community radio station is back on the air, but it will need a fresh infusion of people power and fundraising if its going to stick around long-term.

That's the message of Jeff Margolis, a founder of KAVZ 102.5 FM.

"It stands for Acme Van Zandt," he explained, helpfully.

Broadcast from Van Zandt Community Hall, the station reaches perhaps 10,000 residents, from Nooksack and Maple Falls south to Acme and west to Smith Road and Mount Baker Highway.

"We have a constrained valley, so our footprint is limited," Margolis said. "The strength of the signal matches the river."

Founded by the South Fork Valley Community Association, KAVZ first went on the air in the spring of 2007, initially operating six hours a day, the minimum needed to keep its license.

The station went off the air more than a year ago when the association learned it had to upgrade the septic field and bathrooms at the community hall before the station could remain occupied, Margolis said.

The hall, originally a small schoolhouse built in the 1920s, is in Van Zandt on Highway 9, across from Everybody's Store, which Margolis owns.

Improvements to the hall, along with the addition of a new floor and a wheelchair ramp, have been made and KAVZ began broadcasting again several weeks ago, Margolis said. The station is now on the air 24 hours a day with folk music, world music and other content, thanks, in part, to an anonymous donation, Margolis said.

To ensure the station stays on the air, a broadcast consultant has been hired to advise on legal, technical and programming matters, and a public meeting, called a "Radio Roundup," is planned Jan. 28 for people interested in supporting the station.

"We cannot do it on volunteer energy, alone," Margolis said. "A radio station is a beast that never sleeps."

Along with people interested in going on-the-air, the station is looking for people to help operate the station, raise money, and handle outreach and publicity. Enthusiasm is just as important as experience. Maybe more so.

"This is where we want to get our workers bees together," Margolis said. "We really want them to be committed to operating the station."


COMING UP

What: "Radio Roundup," a public meeting for people interested in supporting KAVZ 102.5 FM, the low-power community radio station in Van Zandt.

When: 4 to 6 p.m., Jan. 28.

Where: Van Zandt Community Hall, on Highway 9, south of Mount Baker Highway.

Details: Jeff Margolis, 360-592-2297 or goodbuy@everybodys.com.

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