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‘Oui’ or ‘non’? Sacramento could soon get a French FM radio station

FILE --Matias Bombal, a local film critic and former theater manager with a vintage microphone that might have been used by Judy Garland now in his vintage radio studio set in his garage at his home in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento may soon get a French-language radio station.
FILE --Matias Bombal, a local film critic and former theater manager with a vintage microphone that might have been used by Judy Garland now in his vintage radio studio set in his garage at his home in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento may soon get a French-language radio station. Sacramento Bee File

Of nearly 100 radio stations listenable in the Sacramento area, less than 20 broadcast in foreign languages, and none of them in French.

That could soon change at the hands of the nonprofit Sacramento French Cultural Society. According to a Facebook post made Friday by the Sacramento French Film Festival (SFCS does not have its own separate Facebook page), the SFCS recently received the license to a low-power FM radio frequency in Sacramento.

Broadcast information website fccdata.org confirms that the SFCS on Nov. 6 was granted a license by the Federal Communications Commission to broadcast from KZAC (97.3 FM).

Low-power FM stations only carry about five miles. The station’s antenna is currently located in South Sacramento; the map on fccdata.org estimates the service area to include Parkway and parts of Florin and Meadowview.

The organization is applying to move it “close to the center of town,” according to the Facebook post.

“We are debating the costs and benefits and are interested in what you think about this opportunity,” the post reads.

Search engine Radio-Locator.com lists 99 AM and FM frequencies (including vacant KZAC) listenable in Sacramento, along with their format. Of them, 17 broadcast in foreign languages – 12 listed as “Spanish” or “Mexican,” and five listed as “Asian.” No other foreign languages appear to be represented. Thirty-five of the 99 channels are broadcast from Sacramento or West Sacramento.

A comment by the organization expands that the channel is interested in simulcasting via internet, provided they’re able to raise enough funds.

There was no specification of whether KZAC would broadcast music, talk radio or a combination of both.

A poll accompanies the Facebook post, with 20 of 21 responders indicating interest.

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