With health costs, retiree benefits and other local government expenses increasing every year, localities are asking their agencies to get creative in finding new revenue. The Department of Parks and Recreation in Jefferson, Georgia, did just that this past August when it launched a community radio station.
Radio Jefferson, which is one of the only city-owned radio stations in the United States, is designed to make money for the parks department through ad sales. So far, advertising slots for a weekly talk show with the head football coach at Jefferson High School have sold out. Ben Dillard, director of the department, hopes the station will eventually pull in $250,000 a year while operating costs should run at $110,000 a year.
The station--which cost $80,000 to set up--uses a series of low-power antennas to cover 65 square miles. The lineup features local Jefferson sports, community news and events, emergency information and live talk shows on healthy living, books and cooking--all of it provided on a volunteer basis.
Radio Jefferson is also streamed over the Internet at www.radiojeffersonga.com and is modeled after a privately owned, low- power station in nearby Sandy Springs. Dillard came across the station as he was looking for a way to broadcast local Jefferson High School sports.