A new radio station has come to Cobleskill, WCSQ-LP 105.9 FM on the dial, specializing in local programming and an eclectic range of music stretching back to the 1980s.
Michael Nevradakis, board president and general manager of Radio Cobleskill, has been involved in producing radio since 2003 and has hosted a radio show aimed at the Greek-American community since 2010.
“Radio was always something I loved and it continues to be my favorite medium,” said Nevradakis, 32, who moved to Cobleskill from New York City with his parents five years ago.
When the Federal Communications Commission announced several years ago the availability of a low power license in Schoharie County, Nevradakis said he jumped at the opportunity and applied to the agency in 2013. He recruited four fellow board members made up of area residents, who conducted fundraising efforts and put up their own cash to make the station a reality.
The FCC granted Nevradakis and the board a construction permit in 2014 and it took two years to procure equipment and get the project off the ground. Radio Cobleskill officially began broadcasting Nov. 16 and offers music and news updates from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for the region’s farmers, as well as two weekly jazz shows, radio theater and a philosophy broadcast called “New Dimensions.”
The station is designated as a non-profit and cannot air traditional radio advertisements, but can accept underwriting support from businesses and other institutions that are namechecked during broadcasts.
A sample playlist shows hits from contemporary artists like Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande and older acts like Toto and Chris Isaak.
“The size of the playlist is much bigger and it’s continuing to grow,” said Nevradakis.
The station has an operating power of 100 watts and is able to reach all of Cobleskill and Richmondville as well as a stretch of I-88 and much of Schoharie County. Nevradakis said it’s important to him and the other board members that the station have a hyperlocal focus.
“The goal is to be a radio station that’s dedicated solely to the audience of Cobleskill and the surrounding region,” he said.
Nevradakis and the board hope to launch more public programming next year and open the station to local governments, schools and civic organizations as well as private citizens interested in hosting their own shows with dedicated, weekly time slots.
“Our station will be open to all of those groups and entities in the community,” said Nevradakis, who is working on a Ph.D. in media studies.
Nevradakis said the station grew out of his Greek-themed radio show “Bialogos,” which means “dialogue” in Greek and is aired in Chicago and Long Island, as well as in several foreign countries.
“It was just a love of the medium that’s snowballed into something bigger,” he said.
Nevradakis said his station isn’t looking to compete with the local light FM station, 94.3, but rather complement what they do as a non-profit.
“We’re more diverse with music and air specialty music programs that would have a much harder time being heard on the local radio station,” he said. “When the opportunity came to apply for [a low power FM] license in 2013, having already been in the area, I felt absolutely there was an opening for another voice.”
Nevradakis said 105.9 will never go commercial and that while it’s still too early to gauge the station’s impact on the community, indications are that it’s being well-received in Schoharie County.
“I understand word is getting around about the station and it’s already getting some dedicated listeners in the area, but we’ve only been on the air officially for about a month,” he said.
More information on Radio Cobleskill can be found on Facebook and at their website, www.radiocobleskill.org.