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Small town radio attracts international audience

Mona Hill
Staff Writer

On May 12, 2011, Plumas Community Radio, KQNY 91.9 FM, broke several years of radio silence in Plumas County when it began broadcasting from a tiny office on Main Street in Quincy.

Less than a year later, via live streaming on, out-of-towners have joined local listeners


People are tuning from around the U.S. and from around the world. The largest group of international listeners is the Japanese, followed by Germans, Brits and Mexicans. In all, listeners tune in from more than 30 countries.

Streaming is the name for live audio or video signals that are available on the Internet.

KQNY retained the services of The StreamGuys, a Bay Area company, for the technical and hardware solutions when the station began the move to live streaming.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set up a formidable amount of paperwork necessary for an FCC-licensed broadcast station to stream online.

The FCC wants to ensure the station is paying all royalties due to artists from broadcast and streaming.

To that end, Spintron, a company specializing in playlist information collection, will collect a two-week sample of the station’s playlist each quarter and forward it to SoundExchange for FCC reporting.

SoundExchange is the sole agency appointed by the Library of Congress to collect royalties.

The station received donations to finance the move to live streaming, including $500 from a man who was just passing through town. He called station manager Tommy Miles to ask about live streaming and subsequently sent a check.

With its operations financed exclusively by private donations from 60-plus businesses and organizations, as well as individuals, KQNY is an example of the radio that could.

Miles and production manager Chris Connell have different responsibilities, but the pair work collaboratively on the complexities of operating a radio station. Miles said he tends to handle policy, personnel and scheduling, while Connell co-manages, especially the technical side of things, such as the automated schedule and website.

With its nearly all-volunteer staff and DJs, the station aims to entertain and inform county residents and visitors with its diverse musical offerings and talk shows. Sixteen DJs broadcast live in musical genres ranging from Chris Retallack’s “Acoustic Space” to “Wednesday Night Classical,” hosted by Benjamin Sawyer and Robert Gershenow.

It’s not all music, however: Joseph Muñoz hosts “Common Good,” a talk show featuring community affairs.

“Here Today, Here Tomorrow,” hosted by Michelle Fulton and Erin Roth and supported by research coordinator Pamela Noel, is a half-hour weekly on sustainability in Plumas County and the world.

“Under the Covers,” a weekly, half-hour book discussion hosted by Margaret Garcia, debuted Feb. 16.

More shows are in the works and there is still plenty of room in the schedule, according to Miles. To volunteer, email him at

To listen via the Internet, visit Internet users will need iTunes, Winamp or Windows Media Player (version 11 with a plug-in available on the page.)

To volunteer in other capacities, email

To make a donation or sponsor a particular show, call Mel Rocket at 283-0901.

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