|Broadcast area||Phoenix, Arizona (via FM)|
Worldwide (via Internet)
|Slogan||Talk. Sing. Connect.|
|Frequency||88.7 MHz (Sun 6a-7a via KPNG), 90.7 MHz (Sun 6a-8a via KVIT) & 93.9 MHz (Sun 11a-12n via KWSS)|
Native Voice One (NV1)
WFMT Radio Network
|Owner||Arizona Community Media Foundation (AzCMF)|
Radio Phoenix is a non-commercial, online, community radio station serving the Phoenix, Arizona metro area. Launched on October 31, 2008, the station programs an eclectic format consisting of news, public affairs and adult album alternative (AAA) music programming during the day, along with indie and specialty music, talk, and cultural programming at night and on weekends. Unlike other non-commercial radio stations operating in the area, Radio Phoenix is unique because it includes volunteers as part of its staff, and provides area residents with public access airtime to produce local radio shows.
The primary goal of the station is to serve as a vehicle for facilitating increased engagement of the community at large, with a special emphasis on engaging traditionally marginalized and underrepresented populations within metro Phoenix. Such groups include social and political progressives, persons of color, lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-questioning (LGBTQ) persons, organized labor, and immigrants. A secondary goal of the station is to expose listeners to viewpoints, cultures, and music not often available from commercial or existing public radio stations.
A select amount of the station's programming can be heard Sunday mornings from 6am to 7am on KPNG 88.7FM as well as Sundays from 6am to 8am on KVIT 90.7FM through a program sharing relationship with the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT). Arizona Community Media Foundation (AzCMF), a 501(c)(3) public media organization and owner of Radio Phoenix, was the original owner of KPNG until selling the construction permit to EVIT. Likewise, the station's weekly relationship talk show The Venus Vault is simulcast on Sunday mornings from 11am to 12noon on KWSS FM 93.9.
In 2002, Phoenix-area attorney Victor Aronow and other residents of the city's east valley grew concerned about a noticeable decline in the coverage of local civic events, airplay of music by local artists, and an absence of diverse viewpoints on the local radio dial. After discovering the change was in part due to a 1996 federal law called the Telecommunications Act, Aronow and his group set out to develop a community oriented radio station that would have a focus on promoting local news, current affairs, and music programming for residents of Phoenix's growing east valley.
A year later, in the fall of 2003, radio broadcaster Kaja Brown and indie music publicist Sheila Dean led an unofficial think tank made up of local small business owners, artists, musicians, and college students interested in discovering why Phoenix never got a full power, over the air, FM college music station. After spending a few months researching the topic via archived news articles as well as interviews with local media professors and public broadcasters, they discovered that Arizona State University attempted to obtain an FM license for such a station in the early 1980s, but their application was turned down due to a technical error. Since there were no other major universities in Phoenix at the time, and the community college district already operated the local NPR station, no other viable group existed in the area who could establish a college FM station. Some members of the think tank decided that the community should try creating its own indie music radio station, and in early 2004 formed the Arizona Community Media Foundation (aka AzCMF), as the vehicle for making this new station a reality.
In late 2004, Aronow and his colleagues met Brown and the indie music radio group. They each decided that they were working towards a mutual goal of bringing community radio to the Phoenix area and decided to combine their efforts. Aronow's team became part of AzCMF and together they began building support for a community radio station in Phoenix. From 2005 to 2007, AzCMF's team educated themselves regarding the process of obtaining an FCC license and determined the most feasible path to launching a new station in the Phoenix area was to apply for a vacant FM frequency. Before they could do so, they had to find out if any FM frequencies were still available for use in Phoenix, and then, if so, had to wait for the FCC to accept new applications. In the meantime, the group decided to engage in a project to determine if there really was a need for a community radio station in the Phoenix area. For 10 weeks in the spring of 2007, AzCMF entered into a brokered time agreement with commercial radio station KAZG (1440 AM), which covered most of the Phoenix area. During those 10 weeks, the group aired the national news program Democracy Now! and supported the airtime by selling underwriting spots to local businesses and provided non-profits with public service announcements. The response to this test run was positive and the team at AzCMF realized that a need really did exist for a community radio station in Phoenix.
During the fall of 2007, AzCMF confirmed that there were two vacant full power FM frequencies available for use in the Phoenix area - 88.7FM and 90.7FM. The group decided to apply for both FM frequencies. As time went on, the organization’s Board of Directors realized the FCC might take longer than expected to rule on the applications they filed and a long-term project was needed to keep the public and new volunteers engaged.
In the spring of 2008, in an attempt to build upon the public interest in their proposed station and as a way to better engage existing volunteers, AzCMF launched a community podcasting project known as Radio Phoenix On Demand. As the project’s volunteer base grew, more and more participants desired to create long-form radio programs spotlighting and promoting copyrighted music, which due to federal law, would be very expensive to obtain podcast licenses for. After researching affordable licensing options that would legally allow volunteers to create programs featuring copyrighted music, the AzCMF Board of Directors decided to create a new online radio station called Radio Phoenix, that would serve as a training ground for developing volunteers and talent for the organization’s long-term goal – operation of an FCC licensed FM station.
Radio Phoenix launched at 6pm on Friday, October 31, 2008 with the first program being Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!, followed by live, local talk and music shows hosted by volunteers. In late 2010, AzCMF discovered that it was not selected the finalist for use of the vacant 90.7 frequency, which was instead awarded to EVIT.
Between October 2010 and October 2011, due to a loss of its original operating space, Radio Phoenix functioned as a virtual station. During this year, station volunteers met at coffee houses, libraries and other community spaces to develop radio programs, fundraisers, and complete related work. In October 2011, Radio Phoenix became a tenant of the Phoenix Center for the Arts, a community arts center in downtown Phoenix, where its studios are now located.
On Sunday, September 4, 2011, Radio Phoenix began a program sharing relationship with EVIT's new station, KVIT, the new radio station at EVIT. Under the relationship, KVIT, which covers the southeast suburbs of metro Phoenix, airs a select amount of Radio Phoenix programming on weekends. In 2012, KVIT expanded its coverage to include central Phoenix and its western suburbs by adding the 92.7FM frequency via translator K224CJ.
In 2013, AzCMF's application for 88.7 FM was approved by the FCC, but in 2015, AzCMF sold the construction permit to EVIT, which built the station as KPNG 88.7. Radio Phoenix programming is now heard Sunday mornings from 6am to 7am on KPNG 88.7FM and Sundays 6am to 8am on KVIT 90.7FM.
Radio Phoenix airs an eclectic mix of news, public affairs and adult album alternative (AAA) music programming on weekdays between 12mid and 7pm, along with indie and specialty music, talk, and cultural programming on weeknights between 7pm and 12mid and all day on weekends.
Radio Phoenix is the Phoenix area's Pacifica Radio affiliate, and carries many of their national news and public affairs programming, including Democracy Now!, Economic Update, Sprouts, The David Pakman Show, and The Thom Hartmann Program.
The station is the local Phoenix affiliate of Native Voice One (NV1), the Native American public radio network. NV1 programs carried by the station includes National Native News, Native America Calling, Earthsongs, Trahant Reports, Voices from the Circle, and UnderCurrents WEEKEND. Radio Phoenix also airs national programming from KCRW in Los Angeles (Left, Right & Center, The Business, and The Treatment), WFMT in Chicago (Fiesta!, Relevant Tones, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center) and a variety of independent programs such as 12th Street Jump (jazz), Concierto (Latin classical), and Street Soldiers (violence prevention talk).
Radio Phoenix volunteers produce more than 100 hours per week of original programming spanning a variety of genres and topics - including arts and culture, Native American public affairs, jazz and blues, rockabilly, world, indie rock, and everything in between. Some of the station's signature local programs include Full Moon Hacksaw (jazz and blues), HipRawk Nation (alternative rock, electronic, hip-hop, soul), Mark My Words (sports talk show), My World of Music (singer-songwriters, reggae, world), Native Talk Arizona (Arizona's only urban Native American public affairs radio program), Rockabilly Worldwide Mash-Up (local and international rockabilly music), Rise (local Phoenix-area and Arizona based bands), Soul Deluxe (mix show spotlighting soul music), Soul Star Live (Phoenix's only African-American public affairs radio program), The Althea Long Show (jazz, blues, reggae, world), The budcoach Radio Show (Cannabis culture and business news), The Bungalow Show (arts and culture magazine), The Venus Vault (relationships, pop culture, and indie music talk show), The Yaggah Movement RadioCast (African and Caribbean cultural program), and The YabYum Hour (indie music and arts program).
Radio Phoenix original programs aired through its KPNG and KVIT program sharing relationship include The Althea Long Show (Sun 6a-7a on KVIT), My World of Music (Sun 7a-8a on KVIT), and Full Moon Hacksaw (Sun 6a-7a on KPNG). Likewise, low power FM station KWSS simulcasts The Venus Vault on Sundays from 11a-12n.
Three of the station's original programs - Full Moon Hacksaw, My World of Music, and Soul Deluxe, are syndicated nationally and collectively air on more than 60 over-the-air radio stations across the United States.
- "Best of Phoenix® 2009: Your Key to the City". Best Online Music Station That Should Be A Radio Station. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
- "Radio Phoenix | Best of Phoenix® 2015: Your Key to the City". Best Internet Radio. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
- "Best Internet Radio: Radio Phoenix | Best of Phoenix® 2016: Your Key to the City". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
- Times, Phoenix New (2016-10-05). "The Seven Best Radio Stations in Phoenix in 2016". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2017-05-17.