Antennae no more for Radio Tierra

Station launches live-streaming service on Friday

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On Friday, Oct. 5, Radio Tierra, a low-power community radio station serving the Gorge, will move from broadcasting by antennas only to live stream listening.

The station hosts a launch party on Friday from 5:30-9 p.m. at Chicken & Teriyaki, 1314 12th St. in Hood River, where the whole Gorge community is invited to join staff, listeners and supporters to celebrate this upgrade in Radio Tierra’s broadcast technology.

Fourteen years ago, the fledgling low-power community station’s FCC broadcast license was approved and Radio Tierra, or RT as it’s called by many listeners, became the first primarily Spanish language station in Hood River. It didn’t take long for programming to be offered in both Spanish and English, including the ability for all speakers to learn the others’ language through on-air classes offered by young, bilingual students.

Over the years, a series of antennas, transmitters and different station numbers for each community has helped RT grow to reach as many people as possible around the Gorge.

But the mountains and cliffs that create the beauty of the Gorge make low-power radio reception spotty or non-existent. Now, with people’s growing use of mobile devices, Radio Tierra’s live and recorded programs may be listened to anywhere cell service or WiFi is available.

About five years ago, the non-profit station’s board of directors began talking about live streaming, a fairly new concept then, especially for a small community station. With advances in technology and reduced costs in obtaining it, RT has, over the last year, been able to make live streaming a reality. The financial support from grants and donations, technical support from staff and volunteers, the development of live streaming, the purchase of hardware and software, as well as learning of how it works, has brought Radio Tierra to Friday’s launch party.

Soon, live streaming will allow Radio Tierra to be heard everywhere in the Gorge; in fact, everywhere in the world.

Substantial financial support from Leanne Hogie and from Tina Castañares’ Salvador Fund, along with regional grants from larger foundations, have made the move to live streaming possible.

“This is an exciting step for Radio Tierra and all the communities of the Gorge,” said Board President Juan Reyes.

“We are truly thankful for everyone’s support and encouragement for the last 14 years. And we look forward to many more milestones for our community radio station.”

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