Crowdfunding Community Radio?

This crowdsourced funding call to build a new community radio station crossed my tweet-stream Tuesday. The Media Institute for Social Change, a non-profit media literacy/empowerment group in Portland, Oregon, has apparently secured a “rare opportunity” to build a new radio station in town. The goal of its campaign is to raise $3,500 by November 16. As of today, $2,220 has been pledged.
“We have accomplished perhaps the hardest part – we have acquired an FCC license, an incredibly rare commodity,” writes the Media Institute for Social Change’s executive director Phil Busse. “Your donation, quite literally, will be the nucleus around which the radio station is built….
By no means does this amount reflect the real costs of starting a station, but we have (as they say) friends in the business who are providing equipment and services at greatly reduced rates; no, not free, but at a fraction market-value.”
It costs more than $3,500 to build out a low-power FM radio station – but the FCC hasn’t given out new licenses for those in years (this is likely to change in 2013). Building out a full-power station is even more expensive.
I couldn’t find an FM station construction permit for the Media Institute for Social Change in the FCC’s database (though my mining-skills are admittedly rusty), but I did find records about the organization’s plan to purchase a 28-watt FM translator in Nehalem, Oregon – some 80 miles from Portland – for $10,000, filed in August.
The seller was the Educational Media Foundation, a significant participant in the 2003 Great Translator Invasion – an event best known its rash of speculative filings for translators.
Spectrum scarcity makes for strange bedfellows.