Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Like many of you, I’ve always dreamed about having my own personal radio station. When I was in my early teens I had a .001-watt mini-station I built from a kit. It had a very, very small coverage area, maybe 100 feet or so. My neighborhood pal, Wicked Chuckie, and I played the hits and made more than a few fart jokes. However, the lack of listeners sunk the station after a couple of weeks.

Now a handful of LPFM stations and other new local noncoms are broadcasting from homes. Some are doing quite well. Today we will tell you about two of them.


Murray is community of around 800 people, 40 miles south of Des Moines. This is If they build it, people will come territory. That can-do spirit also powers KOSI 91.9 FM, Southern Iowa Community Radio.

I first heard of KSOI on the NBC Nightly News in March.  Here is a YouTube video of that story:

KSOI [link] is a passion project of Murray resident Joe Hynek.  Hynek did the prep work and filed an application in 2007 with FCC for what became KSOI. The FCC granted the construction permit in 2011. KSOI signed on August 1, 2012. Since then Hynek has operated KSOI for no compensation.

KSOI also has a very nice Facebook page [link] that the station uses to forward promote upcoming programming.

According to KSOI’s 2015 IRS 990, the station has only one paid employee, a part-timer who does the books and pays the bills. In 2015 KSOI had annual revenue of around $66,000.

Today KSOI broadcasts from Hynek’s living room.  The front porch of his house is a live music venue. Hynek recruits volunteers and trains them for air shifts and “specialty reporting.” According to KSOI’s website, volunteers produce local reports such as these:

Murray High School Announcements
By Future Farmers of American students • Weekdays at 6:50AM 

The Weather Lady
The Weather Lady
Staring Grandma Perry • Weekdays Hourly

Fishing and Hunting News
By Michael Miller • Monday through Saturday 7:15AM and 4:30PM

Funeral Announcements
By Angie Hynek (Joe’s mom) • Monday through Saturday 6:45 and 9:45AM

Almost all of these special reports are underwritten by local businesses.

Most of the programming on KSOI falls into two categories: music and sports. Volunteers play a wide variety of music styles: Classic Rock, Country and specialties such as Bluegrass, Jazz and Big Band.

The “unique selling proposition” of KSOI is the series of Front Porch Concerts. They are broadcast live weekly (during the warmer time of the year, weather permitting) from the front porch of Hynek’s house.

KSOI works because they are hyper-local and focused on the community.


  1. FWIW, I believe Radio Malibu couldn't join NPR not because KPCC or KCRW, but because NPR requires a minimum number of five full-time staff from an affiliate station.

    Also, that's a studio in his spare bedroom???? WOW. Those wooden wall baffles are usually a sign of Russ Berger Design Group, and he's not cheap! It looks rilly, rilly nice but I wonder how an LPFM could afford that.

  2. It's quite rewarding to see the many LPFM stations that serve their communities with pride by giving a voice to those towns and cities which may not be served by a larger, corporately owned radio voice. It's also interesting to note the author's commented about their teen years with Part 15 radio. While nowhere near the coverage of an LPFM there's a growing population utilizing legal, license free Part 15 AM radio to serve their neighborhoods, school campuses and special business applications such as shopping malls and tourist attractions. This growing subset of microbroadcasters legally fill the niche where there's a lack of spectrum to acquire a construction permit for even the most modest LPFM facility.