A Peoria City Councilwoman is planning to launch a low-power FM radio station with hopes of bringing one of the city's most impoverished neighborhoods together.
Councilwoman Denise Moore is behind the effort to get 106.3 WPNV on the air. From the studios at the former Blaine Sumner school, the community-based radio station (its call letters stand for "We're Peoria's Neighborhood Voice") will be focused on providing information specifically for residents of the South Side. It will also play "old school" music in its 3.5 mile broadcast radius and on its website.
"Things like the Motown sound, jazz and blues, and a small amount of hip-hop," Moore said.
The station will only have a couple of paid staff members. Mostly, it will be volunteers from the neighborhood putting on the shows.
"Don't misunderstand, this is going to be a professional operation. There are standards. That is the point, raising the standards in our community," Moore said.
She says she's been talking with people like Carl Cannon, who runs Peoria's ELITE and Don't Start youth programs, and other community leaders about hosting shows. Moore is also trying to involve students at Manual High School so they have an opportunity to learn valuable communication and industry skills.
"What we're trying to do at that school, making it more of a neighborhood and community center, is central to stabilizing the community," Moore said.
Moore has already started this kind of radio station. The first one went on the air in Bloomington seven years ago, and is still going strong.
"It really took off," Moore said. "It will here, too. And this time, I know what to expect when we're getting it going."
The station is made possible by a 501(c)(3) organization called the Black Business Alliance, which Moore started in the late 90s. Moore says it is almost completely funded by private donations, and no tax dollars are being sunk into the project.
WPNV is expected to launch sometime in July, but the exact date has not been set. Moore says a community meeting about the project will happen at 6:00 p.m. June 12 at Blaine Sumner.