About Us

shapeimage_1 (1)KSVU is a volunteer powered non-commercial, listener community supported public radio service, with unique programming for un-served and underserved populations. Our signal covers the beautiful Skagit River Valley, including Sedro-Woolley, Lyman, Hamilton, Birdsview, Shannon Lake, Concrete and Rockport.  Radio is another outlet to help increase the conversations and distribute local discussion, information and entertainment.  Working in cooperation with local citizen organizations, the Concrete Herald, local bloggers, churches, coffee shops and the town’s bulletin boards, the radio service is becoming a place for people to tell the stories, and give the viewpoints, share the love of music, and relay the conversations and discussions of local leaders and just regular folks.  Through radio, we can easily share in the successes and talents of our neighbors and families.  Radio is a hands-free medium, and doesn’t require staring at a screen. Many of the radio programs to be heard on KSVU are created by the listeners to the station, people living in the coverage area. Radio can also be a useful service to the local community during times of emergencies, when normal lines of communication are down.

Please, if you’re not a member of KSVU yet, consider joining today. Thank you!

Independent News, Music and Culture

KSVU broadcasts Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, Jim Hightower, Upriver Skagit Talks, and more hard-hitting, in-depth national news programs. Run entirely by volunteers from the community, KSVU provides news, views, music and culture heard nowhere else on the radio dial. Tune in and do something about what you hear! KSVU brings you cutting edge music from every genre. From Americana, Blues, to Local musicians, Classical, Bluegrass, Rock and Roll and World. KSVU has something for everyone. Tune in and take a musical journey!

When did broadcasting begin?    
Just after 4 p.m., March 17, 2011 the radio signal at 90.1 FM turned on for the first time. The Federal Communications Commission issued a license on April 8, 2011.  The license is for 3 years. This inaugural event marked the end of the beginning, so to speak:  the end of over 3 years for the planning, permitting, and construction phase. Now we begin the on-going fun of programming creation—you know, making radio!

Where does the radio signal come from?    
The radio signal comes from an antenna on a commercial tower located near Grassmere.  Space on the tower leg is rented for $7,200 per year (less than $1 per year per resident covered by the broadcast sign
al), and in the first year will be subsidized by KSVR (Mount Vernon) operations.  Over time, this cost will be covered by KSVU fundraising activities, including local business patronage.  For the future, the community needs to find a private solution to bring down the cost of renting space for the antenna and transmitter.  A private land-owner, who would allow a tower for the radio station at little cost, would reduce the annual cost to transmit.

Where is the main KSVU studio?   
The main studio is now located in Concrete in Modular B behind the Concrete Elementary School, with auxiliary studios in Mount Vernon at Skagit Valley College.

What is the history of KSVU?    
In 2007, the FCC suddenly announced it would be accepting applications for non-commercial public radio stations. Using $5,000 from a KSVR contingency fund, and with approval from administrators at Skagit Valley College, Rip Robbins hired an engineer to work out the potential for a radio station in the upper river valley.  That area was not served by the college’s existing radio station.  The application for Hamilton-Concrete was successful.  Hamilton was named as the station’s community of license because it was within 25 miles of the SVC Main Studio and within the 60dB contour of the signal, both FCCrules for Non-Commercial Educational licensees.  GM Robbins applied for a small U.S. Commerce Department grant which supports public broadcasting infrastructure (similar to way telephone lines in rural areas are subsidized with federal funds).  The same federal agency is involved with the national upgrade of broadband internet service.  When the FCC permit to begin construction of the radio station was granted in 2008, the college was suddenly confronted with a severe budget shortfall at the state level, and cutbacks were put into place across campus.  This meant that money would no longer be available for the radio project.  Fortunately most of the legal work had been done, and KSVR had $27,000 in savings to put toward a 75 percent match offered by the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program.  Robbins could request a project total of $147,000 to build the new station.  With $110,000 in matching federal funds, the radio station could have a solid high quality foundation of equipment.  The college agreed to continue help with administrative support, seeing the tremendous potential in outreach opportunity, for a relatively small investment.

What will happen in the future?   
Now that the station is on the air, the staff and volunteers at KSVU are reviewing and modifying the program schedule to customize it for the Skagit River Valley and developing locally targeted programming. Staff volunteers are hosting public outreach activities, like programming training, fundraising opportunities, and planning for special live broadcasts from local events.