14 Best-Kept Roller Derby Recruiting Secrets

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roller-derby-recruiting-steel hurtin' copyBrown Paper Tickets is proud to present our new roller derby blog series. Take a rink-side seat as we explore the business side of derby with Bob Noxious, a veteran of modern derby. Bob will share lessons learned, advice and tips to make your team or league even more fierce. Our resident “Derby Answer Man” has a BBA in business management and over a decade of experience announcing bouts. Read more about Bob Noxious.

Take it away, Bob.

Derby’s biggest recruiting issues

Today, I’ll dispel roller derby recruiting myths and provide improvement tips. And at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a four-minute video created by Brown Paper Tickets. Watch it and feel free to use it during your functions or share on social media.

Finding fresh meat is one of the most difficult tasks a roller derby league will face, especially in the beginning. Successful recruiting is a continuous, machine-like process. You probably already know the biggest contributor to recruiting breakdowns: letting it stop.

Don’t push the league so quickly

Roller Derby RecruitingBob, though we have a mix of both new and tenured skaters, we’re proud we took time to build our membership, train patiently, and design a method of continual recruitment to keep skater numbers where they need to be.”

Yeah, right. And I’m a 24-year-old Brad Pitt.

The problem:

1. Leagues push too quickly to play. Once they begin play, they lose focus on recruiting. It takes 30 skaters to sustain an inter-league team. You will start with 20 trained skaters. You roster 15, play a few bouts, skaters get hurt, quit, can’t travel and suddenly that 20 skaters becomes 10. You’ll skate 10 and that number quickly becomes seven or eight. Now you can’t skate without borrowing skaters from another league – and don’t do that or you’ll never fix the problem.

2. You push new skaters to play too soon. Under conditioned and under trained equals injury.

3. And as you face these issues, what recruiting is happening? After years of seeing this same problem, I’m guessing none.

Recruiting never stops

Remember, training new skaters doesn’t have a season.

4. Generally, the core group of original skaters will produce ones who can teach skating and conditioning all year.

5. Some leagues have a separate “new skater” practice night for training, which works well. There’s no competition for practice space and new team members tend to feel more comfortable around those with the same learning curve.

6. If these practice nights have skaters coming in and advancing to the tenured group with regularity, the class can go on all season. You shouldn’t waste time, energy, and potential space rental on training two people, but small leagues can maintain a group of 5 to 10 newbies.

My experience with skater trends

7. Derby doesn’t have a strong history with universities, as undergrad students rarely surface. I spent nearly six years in Madison, WI, one of the largest university towns in the Midwest (student population over 40,000) and can only recall one undergrad skater from the school.

8. The college students who join leagues are typically non-traditional students working on post-grad degrees or returning to school at a later age.

9. Reach beyond your immediate community. Skaters are willing to go the distance to play with a league. A 60- to 90-minute commute to practice is not unheard of.

Want to attract new team members? Hire a babysitter

10. It’s shocking how few leagues cater to athletes with kids. This deters many from starting or causes them to start and quit. Offer free babysitting during practice hours as a perk. Moms skate too. Well ok, not my mom.

For crying out loud, reach out and sell your sport.

11. Host a “Skate with the Skaters Night.” Roller derby leagues charge about a $5 entrance fee to skate with derby women or men over a 3-hour period. Anyone can attend, but it’s also a way to get league members talking to curious skaters about signing up.

12. Make appearances at town/city functions. A table at a local festival is cheap, if not free. You can recruit at these town functions and they give you more exposure to the community, which grows your audience. Wear your uniforms, including your skates. Do short, demo scrimmages in the parking lot or street and become part of the entertainment.

13. Prepare a kit and take the following to your recruiting events:

-League banner
-Photo album from bouts, with your best shots. Try to include photos with fans and kids.
-League schedule
-Recruiting info for skaters, refs and volunteer positions
-Advertising opportunities
-Newsletter sign-up sheet
-If there will be power, take some of your better bout footage to play on a small TV.

14. Be creative in your recruiting. Have themed recruiting events: bar party, rummage sales, restaurant tasting event or “Ask a Derby Skater” nights.

(Photo credit: Feed My Kids Productions)

 

12th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

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NYBF_2014Jen Gapay and Angie Pontani are no slouches. Not only have they created the biggest and grandest burlesque festival of its kind in the New York Burlesque Festival, now celebrating its 12th year, but they both have very impressive resumes outside of the festival.

As a performer, burlesque extraordinaire, Angie Pontani, “The Italian Stallionette,” was a key player in establishing NYC’s burlesque scene. She won burlesque’s most prestigious award, “Queen of Burlesque, Miss Exotic World” in 2008 and has toured multiple runs in the United States, Italy, Australia, Spain and Hong Kong, earning the title of “Best International Touring Artist of 2009,” by The Naked City/Alternative Media Group of Australia. As a producer she has produced the 2010 Burlesque Hall of Fame’s The Titans of Tease, the 53rd Annual Striptease Reunion Showcase and the Saturday Night Competition. She was co-creator of the off-Broadway hit, This is Burlesque as well the on-going U.S. tour, Burlesque-A-Pades, starring the “#1 Burlesque Attraction in the Nation”(AOL.com), The World Famous Pontani Sisters. Angie will also be featured in the PBS series Great Performances, performing live at Lincoln Center with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. This is scheduled to air on PBS on October, 24, 2014.

Jen Gapay is the founder of Thirsty Girl Productions, which debuted in 1997 in Seattle with Capitol Hill Block Party, now one of the largest annual urban music festivals in the country. From 2000 to 2002, she was the Promotions Director at the Village Voice, where she created and produced the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island. Other notable accomplishments include the New York Boylesque Festival, which she co-produces with famed NYC producer Daniel Nardicio, and the Coney Island Talent Show, now in its fourth year. She was also the artistic director for the Dresden Dolls’ F**k the Back Row tour in 2006 and talent coordinator for several of their tours in the USA, Europe and Australia. This is just a smattering of what she’s done.

From Thursday, September 25th to Sunday, September 28th, they’ll host the 12th annual New York Burlesque Festival. You can pick up full festival passes from Brown Paper Tickets HERE, and we advise you grab some ’cause they’re going quick.

We were able to chat with Angie and Jen about the festival and burlesque in New York. Jen shared some advice to event organizers and producers considering having a festival.

Wow. 12 years is quite an accomplishment. What do you feel is the secret behind the festival’s success and longevity?

Jen Gapay: Thank you. I feel that having the festival in NYC has helped the festival grow.  Everyone wants to come to New York to visit and everyone wants to come to New York to perform and that has been extremely helpful. Also Angie and I work together well as producers, run a tight ship and know how to put on a good show, so our festival has a good reputation from performers and patrons and you can’t buy that.

What performers are you especially excited for this year and why?

Jen Gapay: I am particularly excited to see Imogen Kelly from Australia perform this year. She is an amazing performer who is known as Australia’s Queen of Burlesque and also took the title of Queen of Burlesque in 2012 at The Burlesque Festival Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. She has a variety of styles and is a very visual performer, and one not to miss.

It seems that the line-up of performers is more focused on performers from NYC.  Do you feel that the pool of talent is growing in New York as burlesque becomes more popular?

Angie Pontani:
Our line-up is definitely chock-full of NYC performers, but how could it not be? New York City is home to the biggest and fastest growing burlesque community in the world, we have an insane wealth of talent here. I think that is in part to burlesque becoming more popular and also because this is New York, a thriving hot bed for the performing arts as well as one of the birthplaces of the new-burlesque resurgence. But the festival also brings in performers from around the globe. This year we have folks from Australia, Helsinki, London, Canada, New Zealand and more, not to mention representation from just about every state in the union.

Do you feel that your audiences are made of predominantly New Yorkers or do folks travel to come to the festival every year? 

Angie Pontani: We get a good amount of New Yorkers, but there are a lot of people who come to town for the weekend, some make it an annual tradition. If you’re a burlesque fan,  what better vacation can you have then catching your favorite performers from around the globe right here in the Big Apple?

How has the New York burlesque scene changed since you started the festival 12 years ago? What makes the New York scene unique?

Angie Pontani: The scene has changed and evolved over the years. When we started 12 years ago it was much smaller. We didn’t have as much of an application process, we just invited everyone we knew in burlesque and that was about 60 people mostly from NYC, LA or New Orleans. Now we are sifting through over 300 applications from all over the world.  Burlesque has grown exponentially and one of the coolest things about seeing all these performers is you get a feel for the burlesque scene where they come from. Every city has its own vibe: Chicago is really theatrical, Texas is big and showy, LA has an ultra-glam spirit, New Orleans has the blues and New York has everything.

Tell us a little about the all-new Burlesque Bazaar.

Jen Gapay:  The Burlesque Bazaar is a new event we just added to the festival last year.  It’s taking place on Sunday, September 28th at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn and will feature over a dozen vendors showcasing costumes, vintage clothing, corsets, feather accessories, pasties, Burly-Q’s Nell’s pop up burlesque museum and even Fredini’s 3-D Scan-A-Rama that can scan your image right on site. We will also have a Q&A with burlesque legend Val Valentine and feature a live pinup shoot on stage with Don Spiro and stars of the festival. Plus, this event is free.

Brown Paper Tickets is seeing burlesque festivals pop up all over the country. Now every state seems to have its own festival. What is the number one piece of advice you would give to a burlesque producer who’s thinking of starting a festival in his/her town?

Jen Gapay: I think in order to produce a successful burlesque festival, it really helps to have  a thriving burlesque scene already built into the community, so make sure you have that before doing it.

Thanks to Jen and Angie for taking the time to chat. If you’re in the New York area next weekend, be sure to check out this world-class showcase of the best that burlesque has to offer.

Comedy Outliers: Themed Shows Aren’t Hacky

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CO31 finalAnother guest post by Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. They offer advice to comedians and performers on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

Stand-up shows are pretty straight forward. You have a host, you have a few comics go up and perform and then usually there is a headliner who does extended time to close the show on a high note. This can seem like a fairly simple formula, one relatively easy to execute. While some producers put more effort into perfecting this formula than others, there are always ways to shake things up a little bit and add some unpredictability to your show.

In the art world, fall is in full swing and for us at “Comedy Outliers” that means we get to start producing our themed shows. During the first half of the year, our show follows a specific outline that we have perfected over the two and half years we’ve been producing. During the second half of the year, we have producer Mike Brown and customer service manager Tatiana Albandos’ birthdays so we get to bring more of a party vibe to shows. Not to mention additional shows with a Halloween and winter holiday theme. These shows allow us to have a loose format, which includes performing sketches, musical numbers and even bringing in guest musicians to add a different kind of vibe. The addition of live musicians is always a hit with our audience as it is much more engaging than simply plugging in your iPod for show music.

It’s very easy to get comfortable and complacent when producing a show. But you should never be afraid of switching things up and keeping your audience excited for the next event. In the end, you should do what you feel makes your show work. However, as you continue to grow your production, you should begin allowing yourself more freedom to have more fun and in some cases get incredibly weird.

Comedy Outliers’ next show is at 22 Warren Street on Saturday, September 20th at 7pm. The show has a $10 cover with no drink minimum. Pay only $5 for advanced tickets if you use the discount code “Rasta” for $5 tickets.You can also support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website or by listening to their weekly podcast.

Net Neutrality is Freedom

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Net Neutrality “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

~ First Amendment, United States Constitution, 1791

Brown Paper Tickets views net neutrality as a protection of constitutional right. If we don’t stand together as citizens of a democratic republic, we won’t be losing our inherited freedoms – we’ll be handing them over. The freedoms our ancestors died for in other countries and in the streets of our own towns are to be cherished and celebrated, debated and defended.

While corporations may now be citizens and attempt to rule our country through plutocrats and puppetry, ours is not a country for sale. The Internet is an element of nearly all new business. It is the core of communication, assembly and organzing. How can anyone pretend the throttling of freedom is American?

Capitalism is our market choice, not our government. In our already tilted field of citizenship, where corporations run buckshot over individuals’ freedoms, proposing control and limits to the Internet is like asking a recovering patient to share an artery to help out a drunk.

We believe in the power of people to gather around a common passion, interest or cause. We serve tens of millions of event organizers and ticket buyers. Equal load times and unbiased access to digital content is what makes the Internet democratic. Anyone can tap the Internet to innovate, share, organize, learn, grow, communicate, entertain and that beautiful freedom has become a way of life.

The Internet is one of the fertile fields from which our great democracy grows anew. The place where we fight to improve our lot. And the place where we plant our dreams. It is quite possibly one of the only great democratic tools left to citizens. Do not fetter what is now an unfettered freedom of speech and access. Keep neutral what is essential for the good of humanity.

Brown Paper Tickets democratized access to ticket services back in 2000, offering event organizers free online tools to sell event tickets with fair ticket buyer service fees. Why? Because everyone has the right to gather and the right to wild and weird and funky fantastic experiences free of economic barriers and digital obstacles.

Keep the web wild, weird, fair and free.

Keep the Web Wild, Weird, Fair and Free

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net-neutrality-keep-internet-weirdThe Internet has always been a level landscape where anyone could open up a shop, share ideas, spur innovation. That freedom is possible with Net Neutrality. Open, awesome, for-anybody Internet. If you haven’t heard, Net Neutrality is under threat. Brown Paper Tickets supports equal world wide web access as an essential right.

 

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed regulations that would allow big cable companies and telecom to employ Internet fast lanes with extra fees. What does that mean? Sites would slow. Small service providers and business owners would be left in the dust. It’s not only a competitive disadvantage, it’s a free speech issue as it provides an opportunity for big companies to discriminate against online content and applications.

 

You might already know us as Not-Just-For-Profit, free thinkers of the ticketing world. We serve millions of ticket buyers, thousands of event producers. Artists. Musicians. People who are shaking things up, serving the community. Garden party, heavy metal show, big stage or intimate venue, it’s 100% free to ticket your vision with us.

 

We stand with millions of others out there fighting to keep the Internet wild, weird, wonderful and free. Comments to the FCC will close the end of the day on September 15. Want to keep Net Neutrality? Now is the time to make your voice heard or join the Battle for the Net.

6 Tips to Better Farm-to-Table Events

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carrots-farm-to-tableChefs are talking about it. Foodies are asking for it. These days, farm to table is on the tips of everyone’s tongues.

High-quality ingredients make a chef’s job easier since they are so naturally delectable.  Any respectable food lover will search for the freshest and most lovingly grown produce.  More and more, restaurant owners are partnering with local farmers to find it. In some cases, they’re cutting out the middle man and farming their own ingredients.

Any way you slice it, farm to table fundamentally changed the way we dine out.

Today’s food lover and farm-to-table dinners

Today’s food lover wants to know where it comes from, how it was grown, and if it will be around next time. Farm-to-table dinners allow food fans to get up close and personal to what they’re eating and hopefully, walk away with a greater appreciation for it. The term “farm to table” has to do with the process of growing, harvesting, preparing and consuming food.  However, many types of food and beverage events fit under this umbrella.  On the farm or in the restaurant, the slow food and farm-to-table movement puts the spotlight on the highest-quality, locally grown ingredients.

No need to overdress for these dining experiences, the focus is on the food. If you are considering hosting your own farm-to-table event, kudos to you. This movement will slowly re-school us on how vital and precious food is to long-term survival. Since farm-to-table events involve a lot of harvesting and preparing ingredients right from the farm, it’s smart to have a checklist for your event planning.

We know your farm-to-table event is going to be great, but the below tips will help make it even better.

6 tips to a better farm-to-table experience

1. If you are hosting an outdoor event, be aware of the experience you are building.  Once you have a realistic inventory of possible issues, you can address them one by one.  Ifcity-growers-urban-farming-benefit you don’t have access to a farm, reach out to some in your area. It’s a great way to build community.

2. Going to be outdoors? Don’t forget about pests. Bees, mosquitoes, ants, or greedy birds could throw a wrench in the works, so have a test dinner prior to the event.  Find methods for detouring/repelling critters without also repelling your guests.  Marigolds and other plants make good natural repellents that don’t overpower the senses.

3. Wind, rain and yes, too much sun can turn a picturesque dinner into a logistic nightmare. No one wants soggy biscuits, so have a second location planned in case it pours.  Follow weather forecasts and adjust accordingly.

4. Keep your dishes and décor simple and elegant. Minimalist décor offers a more authentic experience and frees up time and resources that could be put into the execution of the event. Choose simple recipes that highlight flavor; the best ingredients will taste amazing with little help. Make sure that as many ingredients as possible are locally grown by organic sustainable farms.  If you have a dish in mind and can’t source the ingredients, try a different recipe or variation.  This limitation will bring out your creativity and inspire your visitors to buy locally.

5. Make your guests feel at home on the farm. Ensure a great, homey ambiance by inviting people you know. Friends, family, or farm staff could make wonderful assistant hosts.  Allow plenty of time before, after and in-between courses for guests to take in the surroundings and chat.  If everything goes well, time stands still and memories are made.

6. Above all, relish the event and your company.  Confidence and genuine enjoyment are absolute musts to making your dinner a sweet success.  The impression from a great night will last a lifetime and keep diners coming back.

Calling all food lovers: Comment below with your fresh tips on food. Hungry? Find a farm-to-table feast near you.

(First photo from City Growers Benefit last month in New York)

Marijuana Events: Lessons Learned for Organizers and Attendees

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Bud and EventsYou’ve heard it. Marijuana is the new merlot. Green-tie is the new black tie. The modern pot party is here and if you live in Washington or Colorado, you’re invited.

Wait … where are all those hip gatherings starring Mary Jane?

If you’re a Washington or Colorado event organizer, you may have considered having a tasting, concert or theater event, appealing to the epotcurious. White linens. Dazzling chandeliers. Marijuana mashed potatoes served out of a martini glass.

Or what about a weed wedding? Pot weddings complete with joints as favors, budtenders and bud bouquets are a new trend according to a recent New York Times article. Marijuana tourism offers another pun-rife, alliterative business opportunity: Bed and Bakefast anyone? How about a Toke Tour?

Legally, residents of Washington and Colorado can purchase pot and imbibe in private. But curating a compliant 4/20-friendly event isn’t cut and dry. Legal haziness over what constitutes public and private has made organizing a marijuana soiree somewhat of a pain in the gluteus maximus.

That hasn’t stopped event planners from trying.

Classically Cannabis, The High Note Series

Jane West, owner of Edible Events, Co., an event planning company that specializes in cannabis events ran into a few snafus when she planned Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Originally, the three-concert fundraiser was a public event until Denver city officials urged the Colorado Symphony to shut it down.

But the show must go on. And so, West worked closely with the city and turned it into a private, invitation-only affair with donations. “There are a lot of unsafe, unregulated events,” West said. She stressed that her events are bring-your-own-cannabis (BYOC) and strive to comply. “I talked to 6 different gallery owners and picked a private gallery with a large outdoor patio.” The promotional page for the concert included a lengthy disclaimer.

The last of three concerts wrapped up on August 15. Despite all the hoopla beforehand, they went smoothly. Lesson learned: work with the city, host private events and strive to comply.

Hemposium at Washington HempfestWhere’s the Pot Party? Private Venues Reign

Currently, laws in both states prohibit open and public consumption on public property. Despite what a lot of people think, public consumption includes vaporizers and medibles, like brownies. What about a private loft, farmhouse or gallery? Sure, but opening a large marijuana event to the public might present issues. And before you take your party to the high seas, keep in mind Washington waters are regulated by federal agencies.

Meet the Bud Garden: Secure Pot Spots

Seattle Hempfest set up two 21 and over adult lounges, shielded from public view. Inside the sponsored tents, adults sat comfortably on lawn chairs set up around tables, quietly puffing, passing and chatting.

Seattle Hempfest2014 was the first year Hempfest included the lounges. Vivian McPeak, Executive Director of Hempfest explained in the event program, “The 21 and over lounges are part of a pilot program aimed at reducing youth exposure to pot smoke and providing cool spaces with education, refreshments, and ambiance. If we can make this model work over time it will be the first step to having adult toking areas in every public event in Washington.”

Along a similar vein (er…strain) the Denver County Fair (Aug. 1-3) set up a carded pot pavilion on a separate level from the rest of the fair. According to the fair’s website, “In compliance with Denver’s new laws, there will be no marijuana allowed on the premises during this event.”

But what’s a pot pavilion without … pot? A rolling contest, a blue ribbon marijuana plant contest, Doritos-eating contest, and laser light show. Judging for some of the activities took place off-site. All fun and games and cannabis compliant. However, this event didn’t end so smoothly. Fair officials are currently investigating three separate claims of THC-poisoning that allegedly came from a chocolate bar sample handed out by a fair pavilion vendor. The candy was supposed to be drug-free.

Roll Out: What Should Event Organizers Do?

Learn from example. A cannabis-friendly event can be a good or bad high depending on how you navigate the nebulous new laws.

Teens Learn Design Fundamentals

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volunteer-seattle-career-fairVolunteering makes people happier, the community healthier, the world brighter. Our staffers love getting out there and devoting time to great causes. With our collective volunteer hours, we have great stories to share, shout outs to give, and amazing organizations to highlight.

This tale of inspiring voluntarism comes from Karen Chappell, a Brown Paper Tickets design professional who spoke at a career event for The Academy of Citizenship and Empowerment (ACE), a vibrant SeaTac-based learning community that empowers students to become active citizens.

At the fair, 20 professionals shared sage advice and job expertise with 11- and 12th-grade high school students, who will be navigating their own career paths in just a few short years.

Chappell taught the basics of branding and design, gave out goodies, and relayed the tools necessary for successful visual marketing. “It was a wonderful experience and I’m hoping to do an in-depth workshop,” she relayed. “They were a great class.”

Brown Paper Tickets allows every employee to use an extra 40 paid hours per year to give back to the community via nonprofit volunteering. Our Paid Time On benefit earned the company a finalist honor for a 2014 GeekWire Perk of the Year Award.

What Is Roller Derby Love? Watch and Learn

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Blood, sweat, tears, joy, family. Roller derby hurts, but it also heals.

Brown Paper Tickets went behind the bouts to talk to 4 derby girls about the sport’s lasting impact. For young women like Uno Socko, the athletes are role models. “I didn’t really see many sports where it was just all women. I thought they were tough. I thought they were really cool. And I wanted to be like them.”

For Donna ‘The Hot Flash’ Kay, roller derby is a metaphor for life. “Roller derby is just like life. We go around in circles. We try to gain momentum. We fall. We assess the damage. We get back up. We look for the holes to jump through. And we look behind to help each other through the pack.”

Broken bones and bruises are real. But so is the love. Derby love. Watch below.

Roller Derby Video


Love our video? Comment below or share it with your league pals, friends and family. Want more derby? Check out our how to get more involved in roller derby.

New Neighborhood Radio Stations Popping Up in Puget Sound

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Raising the 35'  mast with FM antenna attached

Raising the 35′ mast with FM antenna attached

Neighborhoods in Seattle and the Puget Sound have strong individual identities, defined and protected by their denizens. Now some neighborhoods will even have their own radio stations. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved 5 new Puget Sound neighborhood radio stations, and one of them, Voice of Vashon, may be on the air as early as October. In addition, 10 more moved toward obtaining FCC approval earlier this month, with the announcement of a 90-day “settlement period” for finalizing their application.

Neighborhood radio stations serving Seattle’s First Hill, Capitol Hill, Central District, International District and Downtown, as well as the communities of Vashon Island, Bothell, SeaTac and Bellingham were approved for construction. FCC permits are in process for stations serving Northwest Seattle, the University District, the Central District, Magnuson Park, Rainier Valley, Bainbridge Island, Skyway, Mercer Island, Duvall and Tacoma.

These FCC approvals constitute the creation of a new kind of “neighborhood radio” station –  broadcasting for the first time in geographically-defined communities in the nation’s largest cities. Although low-power FM radio stations (LPFM) reaching 2 to 10 miles have been around for more than a decade, licenses were awarded almost exclusively in sparsely-populated rural areas. This exponential growth in audience size and influence with a particular neighborhood, island, small town or suburb redefines the potential for these tiny-but-powerful media outlets.

In addition to a terrestrial broadcast, neighborhood stations can expand their reach by live streaming and hosting on-demand content. They will incubate local talent and have the potential to re-imagine public media. Many will be participatory and volunteer-powered, addressing the widening digital divide with low barriers to access tools and training. Ultimately, they will form a neighborhood layer of infrastructure for the public media ecosystem and emergency response.

Meet Sabrina Roach, our public media “Doer”

LPFMMap_v2_web-01_puget-sound-radio-stationsCreating and replicating this kind of community service juggernaut in large cities across the nation is what  Not-Just-For-Profit ticketing company Brown Paper Tickets had in mind when hiring public media professional Sabrina Roach as a Doer (a community change-maker) with a goal of filling every available low-power radio frequency with a qualified applicant, getting their stations built and sustainably on-air. Roach directed National Make Radio Challenge and created a Puget Sound Neighborhood Radio Cohort (PSNRC), the nation’s first support network for regional LPFM radio applicants to pool resources and foster a learning community to support these tiny-but-fierce stations.

“This group is ahead of the curve,” said Sally Kane, CEO of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. “Although we see collaborations between community broadcasters, they often happen after those stations have already formed a culture of being very independent, and by that time they can find it much harder to share resources. Puget Sound Neighborhood Radio Cohort is setting a tone from the very beginning that will make every radio station in their group stronger and more sustainable.”

Roach supports the PSNRC with free counsel and guidance to public and private resources, panels on fundraising and education on best practices in the industry. She develops relationships and shares resources offered by public agencies, private corporations and leaders in public media, community media and commercial media that could provide assistance or support to the applicants, and shares industry news, best practices and connections with PSNRC applicants.

“We’ve created a virtual neighborhood radio station incubator for cooperation, in addition to operation,” Roach said. “My work is part of where the rubber hits the road in the implementation of Brown Paper Tickets’ social mission to build stronger, healthier communities,” said Roach.

KVSH 101.9 on Vashon Island has moved quickly since getting an FCC construction permit and hopes to go on the air as early as October.  Their format will be, “All Vashon all the time,” and their motto is “Island-powered media.” With 93% of their $50,000 funding goal met, volunteers have been building as the funds came in and they are already “Raising the Tower” for their new community FM radio station. Just last week a team of volunteers climbed to the top of a giant water tank to erect the station’s mast and antenna. You can view the video on the Voice of Vashon donation page:  VoiceOfVashon.org/RaiseTheTower.

If you’d like to volunteer to help a new radio station coming to your neighborhood, email Sabrina, or access the links below to learn more.

New radio stations

Seattle University Radio / KSUB / 102.1 FM (First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central District)

 

Voice of Vashon / KVSH / 101.9 FM (Vashon Island)

 

UWave Radio at UW Bothell / no call letters yet / 104.9 FM (Bothell)

 

OneAmerica / no call letters yet / 106.5 FM (SeaTac)

 

Make.Shift / no call letters yet / 94.9 FM (Bellingham)

 

Earth On-the-Air Independent Media (University District)

 

Fulcrum Community Communications (NW Seattle)

Hollow Earth Radio (Central District)

 

Sand Point Arts & Cultural Exchange (Magnuson Park)

 

SouthEast E­ffective Development’s Rainier Valley Radio (Rainier Valley)

 

Sustainable Bainbridge (Bainbridge Island)

 

South Seattle Emerald (Skyway)

 

KMIH Booster Club (Mercer Island)

 

Fab-5 (Tacoma)

 

Radio Duvall (Duvall)