The Backstory of How KXRW Came to Be
KXRW & Susan Galaviz
The KXRW journey started in 2012. Founder and President Susan Galaviz became discouraged as talk radio stations around the country, including her favorite local AM talk station, were switched by their corporate owners to yet another sports station with the ultimate goal of silencing local voices. With the basic philosophy that an informed community is a healthier community, she swore that if she could find a way to bring Vancouver local voices back to our radio dial…she would.
Fast forward to 2015. Through the guidance and help from her friends at Portland sister station XRAY.FM and the Media Institute for Social Change, Susan was awarded an FCC Construction Permit for the Nonprofit KXRW 99.9FM – LP (Low Power) signal. She had her work cut out for her. Although she had never worked in radio, her years of experience organizing large PTA events and committees, as well as marketing for a local Spanish television program on KUNP Univision, were invaluable. She recruited talented community members, one by one, to form a diverse Board of Directors. With their combined skills, Vancouver’s only independent community radio station, KXRW Vancouver 99.9FM, was born!
Next steps included not only finding the right location for our antenna that would give the best possible line-of-sight signal reach in our licensed area, but also fundraising the $30,000 needed for the broadcast equipment. This was challenging to say the least due to zoning issues. Many topography studies had to be done in multiple locations until we finally found the one that would work on the CTI Tower at the 130ft level. The paperwork and permitting process was lengthy and tedious, and we needed to apply for an FCC construction permit extension — FCC only allows one extension and that’s it!
One week away from our FCC construction permit expiring, the snow and ice storm of 2017 hit. The arrival of broadcast equipment coming in from different areas around the country was delayed. We desperately plead our case to the FCC that this delay was out of our control due to the weather. After submitting massive documentation to prove our case, they made a rare exception and allowed us a second extension — but only for one month. The second permit was days away from expiring when the weather finally eased up and equipment arrived. Had we not met that deadline, our chance to give the people of Vancouver an independent, community-centered radio station would have been lost. BUT, through blood, sweat, literal tears and a whole lot of tenacity …WE DID IT!
With the passion and support from our sister station XRAY.fm and its engineers, our dedicated KXRW Board of Directors, and our beloved KXRW Founding Sponsors and Donors, The KXRW Vancouver – LP 99.9 FM signal went ON-AIR March 1st, 2017! What a glorious day it was to drive down the road and see the KXRW name and 99.9FM signal on our car radio dials.
A year later KXRW received their nonprofit 501(c)(3) status on June 18th, 2018, allowing all donations to KXRW be tax deductible.
XRAY is an instrumental part of our programming and we are proud to call them our sister station. Since it takes a lot to run a radio station LIVE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, KXRW has only pre-recorded programming capabilities so far and works closely with XRAY.fm. This partnership allows KXRW Vancouver programming to be heard in Vancouver and the greater Portland area on our 99.9FM signal, in addition to XRAY’s 91.1 and 107.1 FM frequencies. They also archive and stream our programming on their website, XRAY.FM, as well as the XRAY app. KXRW will be launching our own app and streaming capabilities very soon.
KXRW started out with only a couple of programs, but each year the roster of volunteer radio producers and storytellers continues to grow. Our talk programming includes a variety of voices from our community: interviews with local elected officials, political candidates, founders of many local non-profits, and local community leaders and members doing amazing things. Our music programming highlights local NW bands as well as music from around the world. Additionally, we love to highlight our local art scene and help with community event promotion. We are very proud of this platform. It was built for our community to be independent and inspiring because, after all, an informed community is a healthier community.