89.1 KHOI is a new community radio station bringing local music and news to the Ames area.

Community radio is described as being a “venture into building humanity” rather than a technical enterprise.

To run a radio station like this, local community members have come together to create and produce content as well as to operate the station, and they are always looking for more people.

A community radio station is a nonprofit organization. It runs off the efforts of volunteers and donations from community members. There are no advertisements in community radio, and all live programming on KHOI is run by volunteers who are not required to have any prior radio experience. Which means anyone interested in broadcasting is encouraged to apply.

“Our greatest need is for people to help manage our web-site and social media,” said Ursula Ruedenberg, KHOI project manager. “We also need help with data entry, reporters, feature producers and general office workers.”

KHOI’s mission is “to welcome all voices of our community, regardless of their perspectives, to freely discuss issues, nourish the spirit and entertain. We will encourage community members to draw their own conclusions.”

Community radio experts have come in from all over the country to help get this station off the ground. 

Engineer Tom Voorhees from Seattle, Operations Manager Donna DiBianco from Santa Fe, N.M., and WDRT Operations Manager Todd Wallin from Viroqua, Wis., all came here on their own money to volunteer and ensure a smooth take-off for this station.

Community radio is not a new concept; originating in the late 1940s, it was a way for the media to have access to union members and their families during a labor strike in Bolivia. The United States first saw use of this when the Pacifica Foundation was established in 1949. 

Since then, community radio has spread to become a widely used medium throughout the world, including some remote third-world countries.

“Community radio is known for greatly improving the quality of life,” said Richard Florida, from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg.

In his book called, “Competing in the Age of Talent: Quality of Place and the New Economy,” he outlines how “quality of place” is a major factor in why people move to a community. Quality of place can include lifestyle, local amenities and environmental qualities.

“The best part about community radio,” said Thomas Beell, professor of journalism and communication and volunteer for KHOI, “is that it gives members of the community a place to come together a share information, it will also provide accurate reporting of events taking place here.”

Local businesses can apply for the business underwriting program to help the station as well as spread the word about you business. For small fee, they can get their name mentioned in KHOI’s live programming.

KHOI began regular broadcasting Friday with automated machines playing music chosen by the production team as they worked on preparing their live programming.

On Monday, “Live Talk,” hosted by Don Wirth and Ruedenberg, launched as the signature program for KHOI featuring local interviews. It will air at 7 a.m. noon, and 7 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday. As their production capacity grows in the coming months, this will move to a daily show.

Another show, “Weather Outlook,” will air daily at 7:55 a.m., 12:55 and 7:55 p.m. This show is hosted by Elwyn Taylor, climatologist, meteorologist and professor of agronomy at Iowa State.

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