There’s a little AM radio station in town, KENC, that broadcasts at 100 milliwatts. That kind of power covers about ten square blocks in town. I start to lose it by the time I cross the river and make for the home stretch. But recently, this little station made some big noise.
KENC is non-profit and operated by Ken Cartwright, a resident luthier, music promoter and shopkeeper, among other things. Ken is extremely civic-minded and has the radio station as a community service. It is mostly a one-person operation, and most of the music is run off of his iTunes program; yet he does a live show in the morning and other folks have their own programs of music, story telling and the like. Real down-home.
A few months ago, Ken was married over the radio, meaning that the ceremony was broadcast live in town and on his internet feed. This event was picked up as a news item, and the story was run in the Portland newspaper, “The Oregonian.” Whether or not it was this publicity that set the FCC to come a-callin’ is anyone’s guess. But come they did, and, from what my luddite mind can glean, shut KENC down over the length of a cable to the transmitter. More news was made. A ruckus ensued, letters were written, and milliwatt station operators across the country held their breath.
To make a long story short, and because I am not doing any fact-checking, a couple days before Christmas, Ken received word from the FCC that they were dropping the case against KENC, and he’s back on the air.
A fair amount of the music on KENC is old-timey country and bluegrass, a bit of gospel, doo-wop, and other music folks pushing sixty or yearning for a simpler time would enjoy. I guess I fit in there somewhere for I’m streaming to it as I write this. Here’s the link.