Francisco Javier Verdin

Residents in the Northeast San Fernando Valley may soon have another way to communicate.

The nonprofit organization, Ballet Folklorico Ollin, Inc., has successfully met several requirements to operate KROJ 101.5 FM-LP, a low-powered FM radio station and are close to receiving final approval by the FCC Federal Communications Commission to go “on-the-air.” 

With the call letters KROJ, they’re referring to the station as “Radio Ollin,” which will run in partnership with other nonprofit organizations throughout Los Angeles.

Francisco Javier Verdin, the co-founder of Ballet Folklorico Ollin, spearheaded the effort to include the San Fernando Valley more than three years ago when he first learned of the opportunity to apply to be part of a venture to operate a low-powered radio station.

His hat in the ring was accepted. In May 2016, the FCC granted construction permits to eight Los Angeles-based nonprofit organizations including Ballet Folklorico Ollin to build community radio stations in their local areas. 

Since that time, Verdin — with a small committee-raised funds — hired an engineer and located the sites to place a studio and transmitter. 

Following final approval, Radio Ollin will be broadcasting during weekend hours. 

“We will be sharing airtime with the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Boyle Heights Arts Conservancy, and other groups who will use the same radio frequency 101.5 FM in their local areas,” explained Verdin. “Each organization has designated time.” 

The work to raise funds will be ongoing and will be needed to buy studio equipment.

“It’s been a tremendous amount of work, but it will be well worth it to give our community a bigger voice and connect people with each other. The station can be a resource to engage in conversations and hear directly from the people who live in the valley. We are looking forward to featuring local artists, musicians, and provide a venue for culture and news from our community,” said Verdin.   

“We also plan to widen our reach by streaming our live programming online that can be archived to be heard later. We are excited about all the possibilities.”