Wednesday, July 27, 2016


A highly anticipated LPFM station has signed on in the Washington, DC suburb Takoma Park, Maryland. Tacoma Radio, aka WOWD FM 94.3, began broadcasting on July 16th. Takoma Radio [link] is owned by Historic Takoma [link], a 501c3 organization that preserves and presents local history.

Journalist Courtney Sexton, in an excellent story on WAMU’s Bandwidth [link], says Low Power, High Spirits: Takoma Radio Prepares To Bring FM Airwaves To The People. 

According to Sexton, the prime mover behind Takoma Radio is Marika Partridge, a well-known radio producer and longtime Takoma Park resident. Partridge learned in 2013 that a new LPFM station was possible she submitted an application to the FCC. The result was WOWD.

Takoma Radio is designed as a hyper-local service but its coverage includes a decent chunk of the DC metro (map is on the left). Partridge told Sexton:

“I’m talking about a mission to serve the community and pockets in the community. If you look at the radio dial in D.C. it’s a wasteland. I think also our ideas about ‘internet has killed radio’ is a very privileged perspective and that still a lot of people listen to the radio in their native languages, read newspapers in their native languages and in their communities.”

Marika Partridge
Partridge said Takoma Radio, affectionately known as T-Rex, has unique programming:

“We just have to consider who’s not going to NPR programming and offer some really strong programming for niche audiences right up against those shows. Who listens to All things Considered? Well, not people who only speak Amharic.”

The path to the new station was not easy.  After other organizations passed, Historic Takoma stepped up as the project’s fiduciary. It was founded in 1979 with a mission of preserving the heritage of Takoma Park and the nearby Takoma neighborhood in DC.

What does Radio Takoma sound like? According to the station website, there is LOTS of music: jazz, soul, roots, reggae, blues and alternative rock.  There is special emphasis on music by local musicians. One particularly interesting show is The Thought Bowl, featuring interviews with science writers mixed with music. It is sort of like combining pinball with astronomy. May the force be with you!


I love to watch events live on C-SPAN.  I feel like I am in the room with the participants.  Plus, there are no commentators saying the same thing over and over again.  There was a true gem on Monday night at the Democratic National Convention.  Paul Simon sang his classic Bridge Over Troubled Waters, backed by a bluesy band. Gave me chills.


Spokane is one of my favorite noncom radio markets. There are a nice variety of stations and no hesitation to try something new. One such experiment is Spokane Public Radio’s KPRZ-FM which airs PRX Remix 24/7. Many stations use Remix during occasional hours but I believe KPRZ is the only station using it all the time in a rated market. Though KPRZ is not a major factor in the market, the number of estimated weekly listeners went up 25% between Spring 2015 and Spring 2016.

Spokane Public Radio’s other two stations also did well.  News/Classical KPBX was up 23% and all News KSFC was up 17%.  Another noncom station not listed because they are not a Nielsen subscriber, is Classical KSGU.

Monday-Sunday 6AM-Midnight Persons 12+
These data are provided for use by Nielsen subscribers ONLY,
in accordance with RRC's limited license with Nielsen Inc. Data Copyright Nielsen Inc. Format distinctions are the sole responsibility of Ken Mills Agency, LLC.

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