For Julianna Ross, the Executive Director of SPACE (Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange), the process of establishing a low-frequency radio station for the community around Seattle’s Magnuson Park required perseverance on the part of all involved.
She states that while the road to getting set up was one with relatively few speed bumps, lots of faith had to be placed in the process – whether that was awaiting a response to their application from the FCC (Federal Communications Committee), getting approval from the National Park Service, negotiating the antenna location with the University of Washington, or applying for funds and grants from the City of Seattle and King County. Given the strength of the station’s mission however, the funds and grants did roll in, as did the response from the FCC, NPS and the UW. SPACE 101.1 FM has left the launch pad behind.
The primary goal of SPACE 101.1 is to give the community in and around Magnuson Park a voice through local, creative, art and noncommercial-based programming. That goal was jumpstarted by a group of five middle schoolers who reside in Brettler Family Place, part of Solid Ground’s Sand Point Housing campus for families.
In partnership with the Jack Straw Cultural Center, and supported by a grant from the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology, the five kids participate in YOUth Radio Stories, which had them experiencing the full radio interview process. This included setting up microphones, asking questions, and learning how to edit everything into a finished product. The program provided a very creative and educational experience for them, and SPACE’s goal is to have ongoing programs like this for youth and adults.
The location of the radio station in itself is symbolic of the area’s developing sense of community. Formerly the Puget Sound Naval Station, Solid Ground’s Sand Point Housing campus is a wonderful example of successful urban renewal . The original gatehouse to the Navy complex now houses the radio station, an emblematic depiction of redevelopment and of the concept of community in the Sand Point neighborhood.
Danka Stone, a SPACE intern, points out that the gatehouse that currently houses SPACE 101.1 was designed to bar people from entering the Naval Station. It now houses a tool that encourages the opposite in every way: SPACE 101.1 invites people to come in and share their stories to strengthen their community.
Bringing the Neighborhood Together
There are also 24 nonprofits located in and around Sand Point, and Julianna believes they can capitalize on the radio as a form of cross communication. It is her hope that eventually, each organization will be able to use the radio to let one another know what is going on in their respective worlds; at the moment, she says that “It’s hard for everyone to know what the others are doing.” As these nonprofits become interconnected with their work and goals in the Sand Point neighborhood through SPACE 101.1, it will leverage the community’s strengths.
SPACE brings art into the park in other ways, too. The Magnuson Park Gallery is celebrating its third anniversary on October 19. Mexican Artists in the Pacific Northwest is the anniversary exhibit that runs until October 27th in the park’s Magnuson Park Gallery, located in Building 30. The event was covered by SPACE 101.1 and volunteers interviewed the artists for a planned radio program. A future event Julianna is excited to partner the station with is Bookfest, which will provide opportunities for listeners to have access to a wealth of cultural material along with the perspectives of writers, authors and artists.
SPACE 101.1 brings the cultural arts scene at Sand Point and in Seattle to a broader audience. Julianna states that it “gives more people access to the local artists working in the park. The point is to get people in there [the studio] interacting, learning how to use their voice, and sharing culture.”
While one of her additional goals for the station is to build it in an economically sustainable way so as to never be in danger of going off the air, that worry seems unlikely due to the richness of the material SPACE 101.1 intends to provide for the Magnuson Park Community. Whether it is the YOUth Radio Stories program providing an educational and light-hearted pastime for children at Solid Ground’s Sand Point Housing, or the framework the station provides for intercommunication between nonprofits housed around the park, SPACE 101.1 will hopefully be on the airwaves for many more years providing a boost to the community atmosphere in and around Magnuson Park and the Sand Point neighborhood.
If you reside in the Sand Point region, you have a very valuable tool at your disposal to really create a sense of community and connect with one another. Tune in to SPACE 101.1 FM to keep up to date!