Somali community gets on the air with KALY in Minneapolis

Will and Mahamed in the KALY studio, new LPFM in Minneapolis

October 9, 2015

Prometheus Radio Project sparks community radio in the Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- Today a new radio station broadcasts Somali music and Somali language talk programming in the Twin Cities. The new Low Power FM station, KALY 101.7-FM began broadcasts from its South Minneapolis location on the Eid al-Adha holiday on September 24th. Prometheus Radio Project worked with the new station, operated by the nonprofit Somali American Community, to build the studio, install the broadcast equipment and train volunteers in its operation.

The station will provide basic information like weather updates as well as conversations about issues affecting the tens of thousands of Somali people in the state of Minnesota. "This is the first Somali FM radio station in the US and it's in Minnesota," said Mahamed Cali, Director of KALY, adding, "oh my goodness, everyone is excited!" KALY will help new immigrants navigate life in America with instruction on "how to communicate, how to order at a restaurant, talk to their landlord, how the system of education works, how the country works," he said.

Mahamed and Abdirahman prepare the KALY antenna for installation

The KALY station build concludes a summer residency in the Twin Cities during which Prometheus Technical Director Will Floyd worked with other Low Power FM stations in the area. In Saint Paul, Prometheus worked with the Dayton's Bluff Community Council to build WEQY, now on the air at 104.7-FM on the east side of the city. Prometheus also provided organizational and technical support to two new Low Power FM projects slated to go on the air in 2016: WFNU operated by Frogtown Neighborhood Association and Center for Hmong Arts and Talent in Saint Paul, and another in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis operated by Pillsbury United Communities.

"In a media landscape dominated by national networks and clickbait headlines, low power FM is media at its most local," said Will Floyd, Technical Director for the Prometheus Radio Project. "Stations like KALY and WEQY return local flavor to our media and are part of a larger movement of localism and community investment."

The KALY and WEQY station builds are the culmination of years of collaboration between the Prometheus Radio Project and Twin Cities nonprofits. Prometheus began outreach efforts to spread the word about the one-time-only Low Power FM opportunity to community groups around the US in 2012. Prometheus also provided extensive engineering support and legal resources to groups in the Twin Cities, and over 300 across the nation, to prepare them for successful radio permit applications.

These new Low Power FM stations, particularly those in urban areas, are a victory for the Prometheus Radio Project and its supporters, who led the grassroots coalition that pushed Congress to pass the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. The law expanded community radio by directing the FCC to make more stations available nationwide, reversing an earlier law that kept stations out of urban areas.

Low Power FM stations that cover urban areas like WEQY and KALY can reach a population of several hundred thousand people. According to engineering and population studies conducted by Prometheus Radio Project, KALY's signal will cover close to 200,000 people in Minneapolis.

Abdirahman solders the last audio cable for the KALY studio

Contact: Will Floyd, Technical Director at Prometheus Radio Project, will [at], 215.727.9620 x 524

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