Burr Beard is looking to build a legacy, and he wants to do it on Charleston's airwaves.
Beard spent 25 years working at public radio stations in North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania, but he and partner Dawn Warner have dreamed for years about starting their own station.
That plan began taking shape two years ago when the Federal Communications Commission announced it would open up the application process for low-power FM stations.
Beard and Warner received their license on Tuesday and now hope to launch their independent station, which they've dubbed "Roots Town Radio," by late summer or fall of this year.
The station will feature local volunteer DJs and showcase local musicians, filling its play lists with a mix of bluegrass, blues, folk, classic country, Americana, southern rock and other styles of music not usually found on commercial radio.
Low power licenses are limited to 100 watt signals with antennas no more than 100 feet in the air, to avoid competing with commercial stations' signals.
Roots Town Radio, which will broadcast on 95.7 FM, will reach about 50,000 people in the Charleston area.
Those outside the area will be able to listen to Roots Town Radio over the Internet.
Beard and Warner originally considered opening up a station on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, but realized the Charleston area, with its rich musical traditions and ever-growing arts scene, would be better suited for the venture.
"This is really where I want to be," he said.
The relatively uncrowded radio dial didn't hurt, either.
Seven other groups applied for low-power licenses in Charleston, too, but Beard said six of those applications are tied up over interference problems.
His desired frequency, meanwhile, has two open frequencies on either side of it. Beard said that likely increased his chances of winning a license from the FCC.
"The FCC is historically slow. This is amazing. They're processing these low-power FM licenses with blazing speed," he said.
Since low-power licenses are available only to nonprofits, Beard plans to stick to public radio-style fundraising efforts like pledge drives, underwriting and grants instead of commercial advertising.