The Creation of Lake County Community Radio (1998)

As the years went by and the microstation continued to broadcast, it became clear , due to the political climate in the country, that the Dunifer case would be reversed and Lake County would lose its micropower station. Watching this situation develop, the founders realized if they didn’t take action immediately, there would never be a full power licensed station in Lake County – those available channels would be gobbled up by non-local Christian networks. So, to protect and fight for the few remaining local frequencies a California non-profit corporation (Lake County Community Radio) that would locally own and operate a Class A, full-power station (lpfm had not yet been created) was created. Once again, a county-wide fund raising campaign began to raise the money to do the research and secure the engineering report needed for the application.

It was a bold move to apply to the FCC for this Class A full-power license in 1997-98.

Popular thinking said that starting a Class A, full-power station was a costly undertaking – from engineer surveys and fees, to expensive equipment and costly operational expenses. But running a microstation had taught volunteers that there were ways around these expenditures. Taking further inspiration from radio station KMUD in Humboldt County, volunteers discovered their northern California neighbors up the road had done it relatively inexpensively. With used equipment, donations from the community, and all volunteer labor, it seemed a possibility. The non-profit was set up to ensure the FCC that they were a legitimate undertaking. A Board of Directors was organized and members of the community were asked to serve. The money was hurriedly scraped together to pay a top notch engineer to write the technical report required. And an extensive search for a frequency and a mountain top was undertaken (88.1 on Mt. Konocti). But there was one looming obstacle on the horizon.

The folks at LCCR soon found themselves directly lined up against four of these powerful Christian networks for the rights to broadcast at 88.1 to the people of Lake County. This was no theoretical battle, but a practical one, that if lost, would eliminate the possibility of community radio in the county forever. It was the beginning of seven years of waiting and struggle. And to make matters worse, the micropower station was about to go off the air.