A Brief History
Starting a community radio station in Port Townsend had been attempted twice before, nevertheless in the summer of 2007 Sherry Jones, Colin Foden, Collin Brown and Ann Katzenbach came together when Sherry realized there was a brief window of opportunity to apply once again. Radio Port Townsend was incorporated as a non-profit corporation on August 17th, 2007.
After a lengthy application process the FCC granted KPTZ a license to construct in 2008 with 3 years to complete the project. The project was managed by a Board made up of the original four founders.
We received our federal 501 (c) (3) non-profit tax status in June 2009, effective as of the date of incorporation. In July we applied to the Public Telecommunication Facilities Program (PTFP) for a grant representing 75% of a total of $197,000 to equip a studio and transmission site. We raised close to $50,000 from our local community and received the grant in October 2009 with 18 months to complete the project.
After steering the project for almost 3 years, in May Sherry Jones decided to step down from the board and Colin Foden became President. We were joined by Public Radio veteran Larry Stein and engineer Bill Putney on our board of Directors and welcomed the advise and expertise of engineer Lou Schneider. In the spring we signed a five-year agreement for space at the Mountain View campus. The 750 sq. ft. portable classroom was turned into a first class studio space almost entirely by volunteers. In August we finally signed a land lease for locating our tower, antenna, and transmitter. In October we received the modified construction permit necessary to build the station at the new studio and transmitter locations.
Weather conditions caused us to extend the deadline for the PTFP grant, however, the tower was raised in April and on May 11 we were awarded the FCC License to broadcast. Combining the brilliant engineering expertise of Bill Putney and the powerful programming vision of Larry Stein plus scores of hard working volunteers we went on the air 24/7 May 14 2011. We celebrated with a launch party at the NW Maritime center that attracted over 500 of our community friends and neighbors. In July we completed an interface to the county emergency systems and on August 12th we celebrated 3 months of broadcasting and the end of our “sea trial” phase with a continuous 14 hours of locally produced programs.October 12 through 18 was our first on-air membership drive and 320 people became members with close to $24,000 in donations. During the pledge drive we added a new phone system and made available a test of internet streaming.
November 29: Kris Shapiro is appointed Station Manager and has agreed to continue on a volunteer basis. Several other critical support positions are filled by our amazing volunteers. The Board of Directors begin separating from daily operations.
In January we prepared the 2012 Budget, completed training for a number of new DJs, developed policies around program content and podcasting, completed the SoundExchange reporting for the 4Q 2011 and tackled many of the administrative challenges of running a community radio station. Late in the month we were delighted to add Lee Erickson to our team as Volunteer Coordinator. In April, Dave Cunningham came on board as News Director. Then in May, Lee also took on the job of managing underwriting accounts. May was also a whirlwind of activities with our On-Air Fund Drive May 2-5, which was successful thanks to the generous donations, new memberships and the support of local businesses; our 1st Anniversary Celebration Party on May 5 at the Fairgrounds; our May 14 Ribbon Cutting and Open House at the Station to celebrate our first birthday, followed by KPTZ being honored as the Grand Marshal of the 77th Annual Rhody Parade!
Summer: We increased number of remote broadcasts including Centrum, Film Festival and the Wooden boat festival. June – the KPTZ bylaws were changed to expand the board to 7 people.
July: A survey of our members was completed in preparation for the strategic planning retreat.
August: Ann Katzenbach relocated to Arizona state. We were fortunate to bring on several new Board members in 2012 Kathy Stafford (September) Steve Gillard (October), and Jacqueline Mention (December).
Another successful membership drive in October with over $24,000 in donations and in October KPTZ introduced a new News format and the program Compass by Dave Cunningham and Steve Evans.
In December, 13 key volunteers attended the Strategic planning retreat facilitated by Jim Rough at Creativity Cove.
In January the Board held its own retreat to plan how it would contribute to the overall KPTZ goals. Part of the assignment was to increase the attention to Emergency preparedness and that began in January. Work began on internal KPTZ emergency preparedness and cooperation with all the media in the County.
After putting the organization into shape and spending countless hours volunteering, in March, Kris Shapiro decided to pursue other interests and resigned as the station manager. In February Nora Petrich was moved from her volunteer role and hired as our first employee, a part time Station Manager.
Board activity included founding members Ann Katzenbach formally resigning in May and Colin Brown resigning in June. In May we invited Steve Shapiro to join the Board.
The May Spring pledge drive met it’s goal of over $15,000 and on May 8 we increased our transmitter power from 900 to 2200 watts. Our first live Centrum public performance of Voiceworks was broadcast from the Joe Wheeler Theatre on June 27.
After a summer of remote broadcasts from the major festivals we then completed our Fall fund drive and raised over $20,000. In November, 14 of us held our annual planning retreat at Creativity Cove.
More history will be added soon…