Local volunteers are looking to start a low-watt FM radio station that will broadcast out of Oakley.
Members of the Oakley-Brentwood Community Radio Initiative presented their program to the Oakley City Council last week in an effort to garner community support.
"An undertaking like this will not only take the monetary support and support of the local city officials but also about 50 to 60 volunteers to get started," said Tony Van Goor.
Van Goor and his partner, Gary Arfsten, are working on an outreach campaign to help people to understand the benefits of bringing a radio station to this region.
"East County is surrounded by out-of-the-area radio stations that can be heard in our area but don't offer the real support our area would need in an emergency," Van Goor said.
Although there are 90,000 residents in the Brentwood and Oakley areas, Van Goor explained, these communities have no real-time "voice."
The group has recently procured a newly available local FM channel, which they want to make available educational and information programming of local interest as a public service, under the supervision and governance of a community-based board of directors.
The group, working under the name Delta Breeze Broadcasting, received help from the Friends of Oakley Community Foundation to secure the construction permit for the radio station.
"It takes a long time to get nonprofit status and we wanted to start working right away," Van Goor said. "The Friends of Oakley Community Foundation helped us while we apply for our own 501.3(c)."
The group also approached the Liberty Union High School District and was granted the use of antenna space on a cell tower at Freedom High School in Oakley.
"We want to make very clear that although the school district offered the tower space and the school offered us space inside the school, this will not be a student radio station," Van Goor said.
Even so, the school, like any other local nonprofit, can offer proposals for future programming on the station.
The station is also a venue for public service announcements, Amber Alerts and to act as a local emergency broadcast system during city and countywide alerts.
When the group entered its application with the Federal Communications Commission in October, it found there was no competition and the FCC accepted the application and approved a construction permit in February.
Delta Breeze is working on letting the public know what it is doing, setting up a business plan and underwriting grants and fundraising as well as developing a mission and vision statement, developing its board of directors and establishing a website.
There is still a lot of work ahead.
Van Goor estimates that if all goes well over the next year and a half, his group will be able to begin broadcasting out of Oakley by August 2015.
At this point, it is still looking for advice and support from the community. Startup costs are estimated at $85,000 to $100,000 for the first year, so Van Goor is working on fundraising ideas and sponsorship support.
Those interested in getting involved in the radio station can call the station phone number at 925-732-9114.