Blue Ox Radio began in 2000 when Eric and Viviana Hollenbeck of Blue Ox Millworks and the Blue Ox School of the Traditional Arts applied for the FCC's newly-created Low Power FM service. With the help of Dell Arte, an application was submitted during the only window of opportunity that has ever been granted. Since Cal Trans applied for the same space on the FM dial, it took four years to receive a construction permit.
During that time the students at the Blue Ox Community School learned how to create programming in a simple studio that was set up at the classroom site on the corner of 3rd and S Streets in Eureka . The Blue Ox Community School is a joint collaboration with the Humboldt County Office of Education.
When the school needed to move, miraculously, a building was found that had two sound-proof rooms perfect for a radio station! The somewhat forbidding exterior of the current location at 2nd and Y Streets in Eureka , was previously occupied by a business that specialized in repairing rotary engines for race cars. There was a lot of work to be done to convert the old auto shop into a school and studio but many student volunteers from several different schools put in long hours cleaning, painting and installing the new equipment.
Many local people have been able to assist with the expenses of getting the station set up by attending Blue Ox's two major fundraising events, May Day and Craftsman's Days at Blue Ox Historic Park. Many local people contributed their time and expertise at those fundraisers, including many local bands that played for the events. All the local radio stations offered their support by advertising the events. A mixer was donated by Sean Bohannon at Wildwood Music and Pat Christianson of Redwood Broadcasting donated a phone interface. Through the sponsorship of the Ink People Center for the Arts, donations have been made by community members and by the Humboldt Area Foundation. The Boys and Girls Club hosted two DJ Dance Parties, and the Delta Nationals played for a fundraising dance. The Americorps Program has provided very capable assistants, and the community has donated over $75,000 of in-kind donations.
The long journey to get on the air, involving so many committed community members, is finally over! Now we can focus on fulfilling our mission statement which is to promote an educational youth and community platform and to serve as a bridge on current issues.