Streaming through the airwaves of Mukwonago is an eclectic mix of music and sound that has captured the attention of a wide range of listeners.
For the past eight years, WFAQ Kettle Moraine Community Radio, Inc. has been 'The Nation's Music Source.' The station began broadcasting on 92.9 FM but last April moved to 101.3 FM.
As a noncommercial, nonprofit, low power FM (LPFM) station, WFAQ is limited to 100 watts of output power, reaching roughly a 10-mile radius. Station president and general manager Todd Ciske said the FCC created the LPFM rating in the late 1990s as a means for small stations to serve their local community.
'The idea was to give local communities a voice,' Ciske said.
In the early 2000s, the station applied for licensing, and was awarded their construction permit.
The station's goal is to 'provide people with this unfiltered conduit of music and sounds.'
Ciske describes the station's music as 'incredibly eclectic,' as they play nearly anything, including alternative rock, jazz, classic rock, electronica and spoken word. Bird calls are now popular on the station.
'It's just a free form flow of sound,' Ciske said.
A spin on their tagline, Ciske said the station provides the nation's music to people. It's the type of station that if you don't like one song, just wait a few songs and you'll hear something you like.
'It's always a surprise,' Ciske said.
Much of the station's music came to them as promotionals from record labels across the country. A small portion of it is Ciske's own collection.
More than music
In addition to music, the station broadcasts a mystery radio theater program called 'Suspense.' The show is a modern take on the old-time radio show format. Listeners are told a tale of mystery over the airwaves, and listen along as the mystery unravels.
The station has also been host to live sets of music from local and national bands.
To be able to qualify for its LPFM license, the station has to be a nonprofit. As such, the station is limited in what type of on air promotions it can run. WFAQ is nearly commercial free, but does promote local businesses through underwriting.
The station recently started a Go Fund Me campaign to help offset costs of their annual ASCAP, BMI and SEAC licenses. Almost immediately after kicking off the campaign, listeners from the community and beyond came forward to contribute.
Outside of providing the Mukwonago area with tunes, WFAQ is community driven. They often highlight events in the community, and plug other area nonprofits when possible. Ciske said he hopes the station can continue its involvement with the Mukwonago and surrounding community.
On air 24/7, the station is mostly automated in its broadcasting. However, Ciske DJs from time to time.
Ciske first got into radio when he was a college student at Milwaukee School of Engineering.
As DJ and program director at WMSE, 'I just fell in love with radio.'
At the time, and even now, being involved in radio complements his love and joy of music.
'It just seems now to me to be the perfect left/right brain combination; the technical side and the love of music, and the synergy that it brings to make people happy,' Ciske said.
For more information about the station, visit www.wfaq.com.