There’s big news from a small, but unique local radio station in Northeast Wisconsin. The Avenue (91.1 FM) is significantly increasing its signal strength from 3,000 to 42,000 watts.
If you’re not a broadcast engineer or a radio geek, you probably have no idea what that means. But the bottom line is that The Avenue will now be able to reach more people in our area with its one-of-a-kind music mix as well as its important mission.
The Avenue is partially supported by its listeners in Green Bay and the Fox Valley as well as by area business sponsors. It is a non-profit radio station with the goal of helping other non-profits.
Confused? Don’t be…
Avenue marketing director and on-air host, Michele Olson, explains that the people behind this station saw an opportunity to use radio as a way to make a meaningful impact in our community.
“One of the biggest challenges facing non-profits is limited marketing budgets, to get the word out, in terms of support opportunities and services offered. We decided to make this the mission of our station,” says Olson.
You’ll hear The Avenue holding membership drives throughout the year. That’s because they don’t rely completely on advertising. But when you give to The Avenue, you’re doing much more than helping the radio station pay its bills. You’re becoming part of The Avenue’s mission – “creating a community of generosity.”
The Avenue’s newly boosted signal allows it to reach more listeners in Northeast Wisconsin, which in turn creates a bigger reach for the non-profits the radio station supports.
“During our test launch period, we heard from new communities every day,” Olson says. “Manitowoc, Oconto Falls, even a report the other day of someone listening in Campbellsport. Also, reports of in-car listening in Sheboygan. Equally important to this upgrade is the great improvement to our signal in Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, and the communities that surround these cities.”
Olson says an improved signal was a promise they made to listeners, and they are pleased it is now a reality.
What Makes 91.1 The Avenue Different?
Here’s something to think about…
When you watch typical television programming, listen to the radio or even visit a website – you are the product being sold – especially if the content is free. All forms of media that make money through advertising are selling your attention to advertisers. It’s not right or wrong – it’s just the way it works.
However, that’s one of the ways 91.1 FM differs from normal radio. This station isn’t relying completely on advertising, and it’s not out to make a profit either. It’s a media outlet with the goal serving you and your community rather than selling you and your demographic.
But that’s not the only thing that makes The Avenue unique. Michele Olson says what you’ll hear is different as well.
“We also determined that we would complement the mission with a music format that was unavailable anywhere else. The Avenue is a rare radio station in that it was not modeled on an existing station or concept,” she says.
What she means is that when you turn on 91.1 FM, you won’t hear something that fits into the typical radio mold – like Top 40, Adult Contemporary or Classic Rock radio. But you could hear songs that would be played on any one of those types of stations.
At the same time – music on The Avenue doesn’t come across as random. The mix makes sense.
They might play Paul Simon, followed by Adele, followed by Appleton’s Cory Chisel, followed by Queen. The result is a listening experience that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in America.
- Read our story with The Avenue’s Steve March Tormé
The Avenue’s Community Impact Grant
The Avenue has helped dozens of non-profits with marketing by providing free air-time, it does so through a special grant.
The Avenue has used its Community Impact Grant to award more than $700,000 worth of air-time to non-profits. Of course, that was made possible by the support of it’s members and corporate sponsors.
Olson says the station supports a wide variety of local non-profits – from Green Bay’s Art Garage to Marion House, which provides transitional living assistance and job training to mothers in need.
“STEP Industries, Inc. and The Mooring Programs, Inc. let us know that the Community Impact Grant they received from The Avenue for their United in Recovery event caused a definite increase in attendance from past years, and they believe it was because people heard about it on The Avenue,” Olson says.
“They were able to raise over $55,000 for their programs. It was a 65% increase over the event the previous year. That’s the type of impact The Avenue has through our Community Impact Grant Program.”
So the next time you’re scanning through the stations on your car radio, when you hit 91.1 FM, remember what’s going on behind the scenes. Keep in mind the idea that our communities are being enriched and strengthened with every tune that’s played.