Chelsea gets KOOL: New radio station makes waves in city
Published 11:28 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – Those in the Chelsea area who tune their radios to the 96.9 FM frequency will no longer find a soundless void.
In October 2015, longtime Chelsea resident David Brady and his brother-in-law Mark Snow launched KOOL 96.9 FM, a new radio station featuring a mixture of music from the 1950s through the 2000s and a growing rotation of community news.
“Our slogan is ‘Great Classics and the Best of Today,'” Brady said. “We play a little bit of everything.”
Brady, who owns Chelsea-based RidgeCrest Homes, said the idea of creating a radio station arose when the 96.9 FM frequency became available in the area.
“We applied for it, and we got it,” Brady said, noting Snow acts as his “consultant” in the project with his experience in radio. “Our goal was to try to invite the community in our radio station.”
The station’s reach extends from Chelsea to the Cahaba Heights area and over to interstates 65 and 459 in Birmingham, a coverage area encompassing about 150,000 people, Snow said.
“It’s a pretty good area,” Brady said.
Although the station has no talk shows yet, Brady and Snow are gradually working toward airing more programming from local schools.
Chelsea High School Principal Wayne Trucks has a brief segment called “Trucks’ Stop” that airs three times every Monday. The segment is modeled after his page on “The Buzz,” the school’s student news website, and covers happenings at CHHS.
“We would like people to know if they would like any event on the radio, they can contact us at Events@kool969.com,” Brady said, adding people and businesses also can do underwriting and sponsorships, which the station – a non-profit organization – relies on to operate.
Currently, the station broadcasts from a small studio in Brady’s home, but he has plans to move it to a new office he is building in The Narrows off U.S. 280 in Chelsea, most likely this summer.
Brady and Snow have a part-time “program director” that helps them during the day, and the radio station’s programming is on an automated system.
“It’s pretty self-sufficient,” Brady said. “It manages itself.”
As for the station’s call letters, Brady said the idea of “KOOL” came from the adjective “cool” being mentioned in a conversation about the project.
The station maintains a family-oriented approach.
Brady said he hopes to broadcast local sporting events, such as high school football games, and to work with the mayor and Chelsea City Council to conduct live remote broadcasts from other community events in the future.
He also wants to continue spreading the word about the station, a medium through which community members can stay connected, informed and entertained.
“That’s the key: Just getting the word out,” Brady said. “My goal was to bring something unique to Chelsea. I have lived in Chelsea for about 16 years. My kids have gone through Chelsea schools. I have a lot invested in Chelsea. I love the community of Chelsea.”
Song requests, feedback and suggestions can be sent to Feedback@kool969.org, the Kool969 Facebook page or directly to Brady at David@kool969.com.
“We hope it can be a central focus point,” Snow said of the station. “We want people to know we’re here to serve the community.”