By Kathy L. Collins

SouthShore has its very own community sponsored radio station-101.9 WPHX, The Phoenix. The station is housed and operated out of the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin.

This project was the brainchild of Sandy Council who worked tirelessly for over two years to get the station funded and up and running. Council said, “The community radio project began as part of the Programming Committee of the Firehouse Cultural Center. The Ruskin Community Development Foundation recognized the project as having significant community impact and wrote a grant request to the South Shore Council of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. The awarded grant provided for the start-up equipment, software and installation.”

Jeff Knauff is involved with the technical operations of the station and said, “Right now we are playing music. We have gotten an excellent response to the music selection, but our plans are to include much more unique and local programming. Beginning in January there will be a selection of syndicated programs covering the arts, and then local programming (developed by people in our own community) will be introduced as it is developed. We want to offer our listeners content that they can not hear anywhere else.”

The Phoenix is an all volunteer operation. The programming will be developed with the community’s insight and assistance. There is an “ON AIR Program Proposal” Application. All applications will be reviewed before they receive the go ahead for broadcast. The application can be requested and sent via email. For more information, visit www.wphx1019.org.

Dolores Coe, a Firehouse Board Member explained, “As a project of the Firehouse Cultural Center, the station will be able to do programming, interviews and more with musicians, actors, artists and others who will be at the Firehouse. Eventually, we will be able to broadcast live from the Firehouse.”

101.9 WPHX was licensed by the Federal Communication Commission in August and went on air at 12:24 p.m. on August 20. The station is a non-commercial station, and the license does not permit political or religious programming. The station is just one of a few broadcast stations in the country that is connected to a community based cultural center.

To become involved with this project, visit www.wphx1019.org.