Can you give us some background on the KWNK radio station project?
Bringing a community/college station to Reno has been a task many organizations and individuals have tried to do for decades now. There have been many attempts, but nothing has come as close to getting a truly community/college station on the FM dial as we are with this project. Since the University of Nevada's college station Wolf Pack Radio began in 2001, the journey to getting a frequency has been enduring to say the least. From WPR starting in the apartment of three university students to UNR partnering with TMCC in the mid-2000s, to failed FCC filing attempts and unsuccessful partnerships with existing stations. Getting an FCC permit to broadcast over FM is quite complex and until 2011 it seemed like Reno would never get a community/college station because the barriers to entry. Then in January of 2011, President Obama signed the ‘Local Community Radio Act’, which created a filing window for community groups, colleges, and non-profits to receive an FCC permit to build a station. The filing window was only open for short period, and luckily the Reno Bike Project was able to snag one before it closed. Then in 2014, less than 6 month into my time as General Manager at Wolf Pack Radio, I was approached by the Reno Bike Project about the working with them to build a station. From there we worked with the University in creating a partnership between the Reno Bike Project and Wolf Pack Radio along with bringing in the Holland Project to create this community oriented station.
We have an understanding that this will be a community radio station, is that correct?
KWNK is a hybrid community/college radio station with our programming coming from the people of Reno and from university students through Wolf Pack Radio. It will be the first free-form station in town, which means that our programming will come from community members and not paid disc jockeys. It is a way to democratize the airwaves and give the people of our city an outlet to be heard. Most large cities in the United States have some sort of free-form FM station, whether that be community or college, and they play an important role in reflecting the tastes and voices of a community. We hope to bring that to Reno!
What are some things we can expect on this station?
People can expect KWNK to champion music and ideas through community-driven, non-commercial radio. The joke is that our slogan is going to be "None of the hits, all the time!”… but it’s not much of a joke because I think we are going to go with it! Basically, someone can expect to hear underground music and a lot of different hosts much like Wolf Pack Radio. Their program is made up of 50 plus university students who have creative freedom over an hour of programming each week. We will air programs from Wolf Pack Radio while also have shows from community members with the content primarily being music.
Can the community have their own programed shows on KWNK?
Absolutely, that is what KWNK is all about! Soon we will host a show creation workshop where people will be able to learn how to create content for KWNK.
Who can we thank for this amazing station?
First and foremost, the Reno Bike Project, without the acquisition of the FM construction permit this project would never be possible. Then there is Wolf Pack Radio and the Holland Project who have played integral roles in giving this project life. We can also thank Tim of Cuddleworks Artspace for giving the station a home! Cuddleworks is the building next to the Reno Bike Project on Fourth Street and is KWNK HQ.