Community radio station seeks to dial in steady growth

(From left) Richard Tiffany, Robert Rossen of NWA Tower, and Joe Newman work to install a radio antenna atop the Chancellor Hotel in downtown Fayetteville.


A party was always part of the original idea. But it takes a lot of time, effort and manpower to build a radio station from scratch. So pardon community radio station KPSQ for having their official launch party a few months late. KPSQ, available in Fayetteville at 97.3 FM, went live on June 2, 2016, broadcasting from a studio in the Chancellor Hotel building. The station will celebrate – and simultaneously raise funds for a studio expansion – from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6 at Teatro Scarpino in Fayetteville. The event features snacks, a cash bar, a silent auction and live music.

What: Official Launch Party for KPSQ 97.3 FM
When: 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6
Where: Teatro Scarpino, Fayetteville
Cost: $10
Tickets: Call 479-530-7786 or visit

The idea for a community radio station for Fayetteville started about a decade ago. Station manager Joe Newman, a computer software developer by day, tried unsuccessfully to secure a frequency from the FCC during a “window” when non-profits were allowed to apply at no charge. The passage by Congress of the 2010 Local Community Radio Act allowed for low-power radio stations to operate and exist on the FM band. When several of those low-power options became available, Newman and his partners at the Omni Center acquired one.

“It allows us to squeeze in between the big boys,” Newman said.

The “big boys” in this case are often the corporate conglomerates operating for-profit stations at high power. KPSQ operates on a much different model. Licensed to the nonprofit Omni Center of Fayetteville, KPSQ seeks to work in tandem with the center’s mission of promoting peace, justice and ecology. It serves the community in the same way the long-running Public Access Television station in Fayetteville provides opportunities for local producers. KPSQ boasts 14 locally hosted shows while attempting to fill out that roster even further. It currently broadcasts several nationally syndicated programs through the Pacifica Network, which caters to similar community radio stations.

The combination creates what Newman describes as a varied, eclectic programming. There are music shows, talk shows and news programs. The local DJs range in age from 14 to 79, and they offer shows approved by a committee of KPSQ volunteers. The idea is to always work toward allowing people on the air, rather than hampering participation, Newman said.

“We can do experimental things, and we can serve populations that need to be served in various ways,” said Newman.

KPSQ operates out of a small studio space inside the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville.


Sunday’s event serves in part to educate the public on the station’s progress but also as a fundraiser to continue that progress. The 2010 act spurred a lot of like-minded people into action, Newman said. Many radio stations are still attempting to raise the money to operate or are just coming online now, he said. One such group, broadcasting under the call sign KDIV, recently began broadcasting from Fayetteville, Newman said.

KPSQ has cleared two of the biggest hurdles – finding a broadcast location and getting enough money to get the broadcast started. The next step on the agenda, and the primary purpose of Sunday’s fundraising efforts, will be to expand the existing studio. An expansion will allow KPSQ to host bands live on the air or do production work at the same time as a live broadcast.

The all-volunteer station will continue expansion as the volunteer contributions, both in terms of hours contributed and money spent, continue to arrive.

KPSQ will soon air real-time playlists and links to past shows on its website, Newman said.