How do you choose which people and programs get on the air?
We have a programming committee that reviews all program proposals submitted right here and seeks clarification when they have questions. Syracuse-based content will always be favored, as will non-traditional backgrounds. Past experience is irrelevant, because we’re not a commercial station, not do we want to sound like one. Our goal is to educate our audience with content they might otherwise never experience and your interest in that is key, as is broader community involvement.
What is your format?
This is freeform variety programming that is mostly “alternative music” with locally-focused news and informational shows. The overwhelming emphasis is on Syracuse content in all programs, including music, produced by local volunteers passionate about what they share. We endeavor to primarily play music and air viewpoints you may not otherwise hear, but maybe should.
Can programmers play ANYTHING they want at all?
We have rules to follow, just like everywhere else. Our FCC license prohibits us from playing swearing or other offensive content per community standards, nor using the public airwaves to benefit ourselves individually in any financial way. As a non-commercial licensed FCC station, we can’t air commercials or anything that sounds suspiciously like one. Our 501(c)(3) non-profit status under the New York State Department of Education prohibits us from using this project to profit ourselves even off the air and our charter with NYS says we are an educationally focused non-profit and we take that seriously. Lastly, we refuse to air content that is offensive in our local community, which would include anything denigrating others because of their national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, family status, sexual preference, ancestry, culture or language. We live in a relatively small community and we need to show respect and exercise civility to one another.
Is this just a radio station?
Not at all. Our independent media project has always used a variety of methods to fulfill our mission. Because we had a rare opportunity for legal FCC-licensed FM radio signals in Syracuse, we first focused on that but we also continue to stream online and have expanded our podcasting and social media capabilities. The goal is to use all these platforms together to reach the largest and most diverse possible audience in our community.
When did you start broadcasting FM signals around Syracuse?
103.3 FM started signal testing on Sunday, October 1, 2017 and 93.7 FM started signal testing later in the same week. We’ve tweaked them a lot since then but what you hear at the moment is pretty much what they can do under our current set-up.
What is the radio broadcast signal and range?
We currently broadcast with 100 watts on 103.3 FM from Liverpool and 55 watts on 93.7 FM from the City of Syracuse and can be heard over all of the City of Syracuse and most of the population of Onondaga County overall if you use a good receiving antenna.
Can people listen besides tuning in to the FM signal?
Yes, please use the link at the top of this page!
Where can I send music to Spark!?
Local music should be mailed to: Spark! 103.3 + 93.7 FM, 4465 E Genesee St #246, Syracuse NY 13214 or sent as digital files via email to: music [at] sparksyracuse.org. Non-local music should ONLY be sent as digital files because of our limited physical space. Either way, it’s highly preferable you address it to the Attention of an existing programmer who might play it — Thanks!
Will there be the potential for live performances on the air?
At the moment, not in our humble studio, no. But we’d be happy to work with programmers who want to set something up somewhere else in the community.
Who is behind this project?
Spark! 103.3 + 93.7 FM is owned and operated by Syracuse Community Radio, Inc., which is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization under the authority of the Board of Regents of the Department of Education of New York State. Our mission has always been educational and non-profit.
How are you funded?
We raise funds through a combination of donations, fund raising events and grants, mostly. We also use underwriting, though not heavily, because we don’t want to sound “commercial”. Our intention is to keep our overhead low so we can keep our creative freedom high.
Why is it called “Spark!”?
We wanted something that could easily and quickly convey our goals and mission. We want to spark discussion of local music, art and issues between neighbors, friends, co-workers and fellow citizens. Our goal is to inject energy and enthusiasm into the local media environment. And we also like the idea that a small spark can lead to bigger things. We chose WSPJ as our radio station call letters because more obvious choices like WSPK and WSPQ weren’t available.
What is your coverage area?
This map should give you a good idea. Your reception may vary based on elevation and nearby structures.
What if I have a question not addressed here?
Feel free to contact us at: info [at] sparksyracuse.org — thanks!