Don’t Touch That Dial

Local voices are reclaiming a place on the FM airwaves


If, by chance, you found yourself scanning the frequencies on your commute around the greater Providence area and, if by chance, your radio stopped on 101.1 FM, you might have been pleasantly surprised to hear the WBRU we know and love back on the airwaves.

In one of the brief windows opened by the FCC to apply for available radio frequencies, Brown Student Radio, Providence Community Radio, and AS220 teamed up to nab the frequency and offer commercial-free, not-for-profit, community-based radio to the public. I have never been so happy to write a sentence in my life.

The three separate stations, share the signal, and are working to develop original programming, play more local music, and offer more variety than other alternatives on the airwaves. In their given time slots, the three entities will be offering different takes on what radio means for a community.

Frank Mullin of Providence Community Radio (ProComRad) points out that while the station isn’t simply the “new BRU,” 101.1 FM is currently playing WBRU’s online programming while ProComRad develops its own content. “Initially airing programmed content is the [important] thing, at least for ProComRad and AS220. Following that, live DJ shows will start to air,” Mullin says. “Live broadcasts, podcasts, and call-in requests are all slated to happen as well.”

With open-ended possibilities and a unified front, 101.1 FM is off to an exciting start. With a nod to the vibrant PVD music scene, Mullin adds, “Providence Community Radio plans to play as much local music as possible!"