Iowa City nonprofit radio station hoping to expand, start broadcasting online for more listeners

Craig Jarvie gets ready to broadcast live on his weekday show on KICI Radio 105.3 in Iowa City...
Craig Jarvie gets ready to broadcast live on his weekday show on KICI Radio 105.3 in Iowa City on October 29, 2019. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Nov. 1, 2019 at 4:13 PM CDT
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A group in Iowa City says having its own radio station has been a lifelong dream.

KICI Radio 105.3 in Iowa City turned on its microphones a little more than one year ago, but the station is entirely non-commercial and non-profit. Now leaders with the radio station say they are growing, and want to expand to reach more people.

Organizers with the radio station say with every day, they are reaching more listeners- but the station is limited with how far it can go. They have a plan to reach those that cannot reach the signal, and they are hoping to secure funding to execute it.

For Craig Jarvie, getting behind the microphone is a dream come true.

"We're finally getting some traction," said Jarvie, who serves as the Outreach Coordinator and Producer with KICI Radio in a volunteer role.

The station is just more than one year old, and organizers like Jarvie and Holly Hart say the size of the studio has not mattered related to the success of the station.

"I think it's important for local communities to have some kind of broadcast or media outlet that they have access to," Hart said, who serves as the volunteer station manager.

And those with the station say they do their best to offer something unique to the area.

"There's not a good place on local radio where you can hear blocks of local music like we provide," Jarvie said.

As the station gets more listeners, they are looking for ways to raise the volume on their outreach, but they say it is not as simple as selling air-time since the station is nonprofit and commercial-free.

"We're part of the Extend the Dream Foundation which makes an effort to reach out to people of all abilities- and that is crucial, and that's a big reason why we chose this space," Jarvie said. "Because it is accessible to people that may have a walker or a wheelchair."

So only through donations, they say the next goal is to eventually start streaming online.

"We've heard from people outside our listening area that can't get us that say they'd hope we will go online and they can hear us," Hart said.

And Jarvie added a transition to online could make a big difference in the long run.

"That would be big because that would expand our audience if we could stream it over the internet and have listeners listen via the web," Jarvie said.

Meaning with one year on the record, the five-year plan will not change too much, but they are hoping to add streaming services, potentially more live production, and hopefully more listeners.

"I'd like to just do more of that and kind of adjust as we go along," Hart said.

For information on how to donate to KICI Radio in Iowa City,

or people can donate by check to the Extend the Dream Foundation - KICI Radio at 730 South Dubuque St., Iowa City, Iowa, 52240. All donations are tax-deductible.