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Noncom Supporters Plan National Radio Day Event

Brown Paper Tickets expects participation in 30 cities

Seattle-based Brown Paper Tickets hopes to expand its observation of a National Radio Day this year; it says noncommercial stations in 30 cities will participate next Thursday in a celebration it describes as a first of its kind.

The idea of National Radio Day isn’t new nor only associated with noncommercial radio. But Brown Paper Tickets, a proponent of low-power FM radio, used the theme in 2013 to promote low-power stations, while noting that National Radio Day has been celebrated since the early 1990s (and probably denotes the day 8MK in Detroit, now WWJ(AM), went on the air).

Now, with so many new LPFMs broadcasting or pending, particularly in larger cities, it’s expanding its push.

“This is the first coordinated national event in honor of National Radio Day,” stated Sabrina Roach, the lead organizer, in an announcement. “I wanted to introduce an opportunity for all kinds of non-commercial stations to work together and to engage their communities by celebrating radio with listeners and independent producers.” She sees it as an great opportunity to “get to know the new low-power stations by working on a common project together.” Roach is also creator of the Puget Sound Community Radio Cohort, a support network for regional LPFM applicants.

Brown Paper Tickets is an online ticket agency that calls itself a “not-just-for-profit social enterprise.”

The flagship Aug. 20 event in Seattle promises “a pop-up radio station hosted by local youth, an 8-foot interactive art installation radio tower and a Make Radio table where youth create mini-radio towers representing their new neighborhood station at the front door of The Seattle Public Library, central branch.” This will promote seven new low-power stations that the organizers say will cover 90% of neighborhoods in Seattle.

The wider Aug. 20 effort includes a social media aspect (#NationalRadioDay), a “radio relay” and shared promotions. Listeners and producers can record “Sonic IDs” and upload them on the event website for stations to air. Brown Paper Tickets said it will help stations with promotional assistance and support to stage their own events. (Coast Community Radio in Oregon and Washington will do one featuring lemonade — because Aug. 20 is also National Lemonade Day.) It also posted a list of participating stations.