New radio station expands reach of local programming

Nov 07, 2013

The KSER Foundation launches a new public radio station on Tuesday, Nov. 12, that will reach Mukilteo listeners.

A celebration of the first broadcast of 89.9 KXIR-FM will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the KSER station, at 2623 Wetmore Ave. in Everett.

The new station will expand the reach of commercial-free, community-focused radio to an additional 700,000 residents in the north Puget Sound.

At 6:45 p.m., KXIR goes live on 89.9 FM.

KXIR listeners will hear a simulcast of KSER’s special programing, celebrating how and why the KSER Foundation saved the last full-powered signal for local, community radio.

The new station is a multi-year effort by the nonprofit KSER Foundation to expand local, independent radio service in the North Puget Sound.

The 1,000-watt signal will reach most of Snohomish County, all of Island County and a portion of King County.

KXIR will initially air the news, information and music heard on 90.7 KSER-FM, the Everett-based independent public radio station operated by the non-profit KSER Foundation that has been serving the area for more than 20 years.

Together, KXIR and KSER will reach 1.3 million residents in five counties with commercial-free programming.

“By providing programming that serves the community, both radio stations will help meet the growing public need for a local alternative to traditional commercial media,” said Tom Clendening, station manager for KSER and KXIR.

Planning for the second frequency began more than three years ago when the KSER Foundation applied for the last full-power FM signal currently available in the region, and the Federal Communication Commission granted the foundation a construction permit to build a broadcast tower on Whidbey Island.

“The KSER Foundation had a vision to save this last signal for local control and to preserve this valuable resource to serve the public,” Clendening said.

The foundation has held several public forums about the need for both independent public radio stations and plans to seek additional community feedback.

The current plan is to simulcast for at least six months, with KSER content on both signals.

At the start, KXIR will operate out of KSER's station on Wetmore Avenue in downtown Everett. The existing 6,000-watt KSER tower is at Lake Stevens.

The new 1,000-watt tower is on a small, privately owned piece of property in Greenbank. The KSER Foundation has a long-term lease with the owner.

The KSER Foundation has launched a $510,000 capital campaign to pay for construction of the KXIR tower and three years of operating expenses for the new station.

More information is available at KXIR.org and KSER.org.

-Edited by Beacon staff

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