Tuning into the community with Radio Boise

The Treasure Valley's community radio station
Posted at 8:57 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 11:39:47-05

BOISE, Idaho — If you're looking for variety with a local twist, then make a stop at 93.5 or 89.9 on your radio dial and you'll find Radio Boise.

"It's a community radio station, it's a non-profit, and it's known as a 'free-form' radio station meaning that we don't have any programming prescriptions from the outside. Basically, we have 120-130 programmers who all do their own shows. They decide what they play so that's what free-form is," said Radio Boise Program Director, Wayne Birt.

But to really know Radio Boise, you have to turn back the dial by 20 years when planning first started to bring a community radio station to the City of Trees.

"2004, we started a webcast, which we still have, and then in 2008, we applied for the FCC license. It was granted to us, and we basically had two and a half years to raise quite a bit of money so that was a race," said Birt.

They finally flipped the switch in 2011, sending the sweet sounds of Radio Boise over the airwaves, remixing the local radio scene.

"Community radio in the radio landscape is the most democratic form of media that exists, and it exists because it really lacks middle people. It comes straight from members of the community. You can be high class, you can be someone that makes $15,000 a year. The idea of community radio is that everyone gets a voice," said Birt.

Some of those voices include police officers, nurses, construction workers, and maybe soon, local leaders.

"I can't say we've had Mayor McLean on yet, but this might be a recruitment pitch right now. That would be terrific," laughed Birt.

As a non-profit, Radio Boise is dependent on funding from the community and a few other sources, and they're always looking for those willing to help out! If you're interested in donating or becoming a programmer, click here.