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11/30/2006 - Terabyte Triangle Welcomes Radio Café

Spokane’s first and only Radio Café will open in the Fernwell Building on the corner of Riverside and Stevens. The Radio Café is surrounded by radio stations KQQB and KAZZ – both stations operate live 24 hours a day. DJ’s will ply their craft in studios built in the front windows of the Café. Patrons can have coffee from Thomas Hammer and treats from Sweet Water Bakery while they watch their favorite DJ’s at work. Pedestrians can watch from the sidewalk. Inside the Café, patrons can text message their requests to the DJ’s on the telephones provided; or pass the time playing on a video game console. Around the outside of the premises, ten 32” LCD flat-screens will display simultaneous advertising for the station’s advertisers. The corner will be hard to miss.

As colorful as the Radio Café promises to be, the real mission is the two radio stations already broadcasting from the Fernwell Building. The two stations are owned by Pro-Active Communications whose desire is to take “radio back to the people,” according to Christa McDonald, manager. There will be live DJ’s all 24 hours and all of the programming will be done in one of the station’s production studios.

Station KQQB, 104.5, fm is Spokane’s only mainstream Top 40 station. Their target audience is the 18 to 40 age group who will enjoy such artists as Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Black Eyed Peas. “We play music that parents can listen to with their kids,” says McDonald.

KAZZ, 107.1 fm, is a Retro Top 40 station. They play music of the 60’s, 70’s, and a bit of the 80’s. “This is the music you listened to in high school.” For the 35 to 64 age group, the core artists are Steve Miller Band, Fleetwood Mac, Credence Clearwater, and Elton John.

However, this is not your grandfather’s radio station. While you’re on the sidewalk, or inside the Café, take a close look at the equipment and the equipment room which occupies a space in the Riverside Avenue window. The glass enclosed room has all the fire suppression, redundant power back up, and climate control needed in any high-tech server room. The control boards are all digital, and even the “vinyl records” are actually digital. When the DJ’s do live mixing, they program the music that will play from the “record” from a digital master. Then physically manipulating the “record” modifies the music exactly as it would have from the previous generation’s vinyl recording.

You won’t see a radio tower twinkling above the Fernwell building. Most of the broadcasting goes out over communication cables. Pro-Active Communications has four T-1 lines, provided by Time-Warner, to carry their signal out to various boosters. They do use some microwave transmission in the rural areas, and GPS to control the signals. The stations are licensed for all of Spokane County and Kootenai County, Idaho and for distances from Coulee Dam, Washington to Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Both stations have worldwide streaming over the Internet -- KQQB from www.spokanes1045.com, and KAZZ from www.spokanesZ107.com.

The grand opening for Radio Café is set for December 1, 2, and 3. Drop by, take a look, and have a free cup of coffee.

Billie Moreland
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