A community radio station opened in Lexington on Saturday, with the founder promising that "we're going to try our best to give voices to people in our community that aren't always heard."
WLXL-95.7 LPFM founder Debra Hensley, insurance agency executive and former Urban County Council member, introduced the low-power FM broadcasting station at Fayette County Public Schools' STEAM Academy on East Sixth Street amid bands playing and people taking part in scavenger hunts.
"It took an act of Congress, signed by the president in 2011, for us to be here today," Hensley told an enthusiastic crowd. "It directed the FCC to issue low-power FM licenses to non-profit organizations. In Lexington we knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which we had to seize."
There will be public safety, wellness, health and music programming, with hosts that include local chefs and authors.
STEAM students including Ryan Hogan have joined a Radio Club to learn about broadcasting. Hogan said he would likely become a DJ.
"We can do things that other radio stations can't do," said Hogan. "We don't have to sell ads. We don't have to do things to make money. So we can just enjoy what we do."
Frank X Walker, poet and University of Kentucky professor, was among those who were interviewed on air Saturday.
People in the community can feel like they own something, said Walker. "They can influence the programming. They can be on the air. It's about them. I'm hoping that this sense of ownership will make us all feel better about being Lexington residents," he said.
On Saturday, there was a scavenger hunt called the North End Amazing Radio Race.
Kristen Hands brought her children Will, 13, and Kate, 10, and they were among the winners. The race took them to places including the store Third Street Stuff. They won a radio so they could listen to the station and a selfie stick.
"It was a really big experience," said Kate. Said Will: "I will definitely listen to the station."
Stefani Heller, who said she loved living in North Lexington, said her scavenger hunt route took her from Bluegrass Community and Technical College to West Sixth Brewery to North Lime Donuts and Duncan Park before she arrived at STEAM Academy.
"As a community resource I really think it's going to be an awesome thing," said Heller."We're a very diverse community and I think it's going to bring more people together to know what's going on locally in our area."