community organizing

Community Broadcast Coordinator

Organization: 
Common Frequency
VISTA Name: 
Gavin Dahl
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The VISTA will assist in the implementation of a broadcast radio facility in the Sonoma area in which Common Frequency and Freemind Media each have FCC NCE construction permits for. The VISTA would take the lead in interfacing with the local community to find people and non-profits interested in producing content for the new radio facility. They will then train these people and arrange the on-air schedule/automation. In addition, they will give consultation and network with other new radio stations CF is aiding. The overall goal is to create a grassroots radio content repository that represents regional topics and issues not covered by corporate news with the intention of giving voice to underrepresented demographics resulting in democratic civic improvement.

Project Outcome: 

Gavin’s main duty is to build capacity within a select group NCE FM permittees we are working with, and additionally strengthen Common Frequency. Gavin has attended multiple conferences and networked with several individuals and entities within the media field which has brought more attention to CF’s efforts. His major duty includes assisting developing radio stations with creating tools they can use to work with the community, fundraise, and build stations. Gavin also completed documentation that will be helpful for entities building radio facilities.

The organization has strengthened connections with peer groups in our field, with attention brought to key leaders within community radio regarding the lack of resources currently dedicated to local community communications infrastructure. Such attention has energized others outside of Common Frequency to contribute to help solving problems and possibly pursue funding for the endeavor. In addition, more internal planning has been directed towards strengthening organizational structure including fundraising and projecting a paid position. What remains is continuing to strengthen the board of directors, looking for consistent stable sources of funding, and more visioning and planning. The organization is still very short capacity-wise for the large projects it partakes in. Overall, the VISTA member was indispensable and was a rare opportunity for the government to invest in community communications that will (in the future) form the basis for infrastructure to help the community solve complex local issues by itself. Such investment is essential in our view.

Regional Collaborative Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Ericha Hager
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The VISTA regional collaborative coordinator will manage the initiatives determined by the staff and board of MAP and the other participating stations around sharing specific technology, educational curriculum development, new/social media and PEG management practices. The VISTA will work with CMAP’s Executive Director Kathy Bisbee to increase outreach to regional media centers, continue collaborative efforts with existing partners created during the first VITSA year and implement new technology, marketing and fundraising strategies with both current and emerging collaborative partners.

To fulfill this role, the VISTA will be required to coordinate monthly conference calls and regional meetups; utilize social media tools and Web 2.0 technologies as effectively avenues of communication and education modules between centers; define the roles of each media center in collaborative efforts; schedule site visits to each center, document conversations between centers and determine best practices; identify thought leaders and innovators within the industry; and incorporate new insights into the existing cookbook for regional collaboration.

Project Outcome: 

Ericha has worked the last year to create a collaborative of seven community media centers in northern California to share best practices and resources. The group, now called the California Community Media Exchange (CACMX), has held four day-long summits to address issues they identified as being crucial to their individual centers and the community media movement as a whole: productions, youth media, fundraising, and technology. In addition to creating a strong network which will serve as a solid resource for the centers in the future, the group has created some lasting tangibles to represent CACMX and support community media nationwide:

-The group has developed a website, www.communitymediaexchange.org, which is designed to act as a space for collaboration for community media centers across the country and keep everyone updated on the goings on of CACMX.
-The group laid the foundation for the creation of a quarterly, issue based show and produced one, 30 minute episode introducing who each center in the collaborative is and what they do. -Segments from the collaborative show were edited into a short, three-minute advocacy piece encouraging the support of the Community Access Preservation (CAP) Act, HR 1746.
-Three of the centers of CACMX are in the process of developing a collaborative grant application to establish a Youth Digital Technology Program that links non-profits working with youth to community media centers to cooperatively implement after school and summer programs with the goal of encouraging low income and at risk kids to stay in school.
-CACMX is now working on developing a standardized curriculum for technology classes that can be easily taught and adapted to each community media center in the collaborative and beyond.

Our organization has built our capacity through:

–Learning best practices from other media centers
–Ongoing sharing what we know
–Building our local brand and awareness of our work locally and regionally
–Linking regional work in an organized, structured manner combined with long-term relationships
–Ongoing funding still needs to be acquired to assure that the collaborative work continues.

Ongoing funding still needs to be acquired to assure that the collaborative work continues. There simply wasn’t enough time to fulfill both the program work as well as train the DASC member and develop funding proposals within the timeframe of the one year of service.

Impact Quote: 

We are very pleased to have a DASC member who could accomplish so much, and hope that the program will have an opportunity to again support critical community organizations such as ours.

Community Outreach and Organizing

Organization: 
WSLR, Inc.
VISTA Name: 
David Beaton
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

In relation to the Comprehensive Broadcasting Plan, the Corps member will be responsible for researching current radio technology and preparing cost/benefit analyses for the Board and gathering information about the operations of other community media centers. The Comprehensive Broadcasting Plan would be the priority for the first half of the year and laying the groundwork for the media center would be the focus of the second half of the year and laying the groundwork for the media center would be the focus of the second half of the year. To support the media center concept, the Corps member will gather information on the needs of the community, reach out to organizations/individuals to build partnerships to help meet these needs, determine what each organization has to offer and at what level they would like to participate. The Corps member will also assist in developing a marketing plan to familiarize the community with the new services/trainings/events that will be available at the media center. Working closely with the Station’s promotions committee, the Corps member will assist with organizing two fundraising events to build awareness and raise funds to support the center’s growth. A grant proposal for local funding will also be developed.

Project Outcome: 

David was very helpful in putting together a ‘Brick by Brick’ campaign to help us match a $28,000 gift we had received. He developed the brochure for marketing the campaign and reached out to many individuals for contributions. David was able to research various STL options for the station and determine their feasibility and cost. He secured an agreement with a local building owner to allow us to place a microwave relay station on his building at no cost to the station. So the station is in a much better position to move on these options as we plan our relocation in the Fall. He has completed a Comprehensive Broadcasting Plan to set the strategic direction for the station as we move forward. David has also finalized a proposal for a Community Media Center that will be presented to the Board. What remains to be done is to implement the plan/proposal in conjunction with the move to our new space. We had hoped to be in the space by now, but had significant delays due to the contractor hired to do Phase 1 of the project. We have just entered Phase II which is a remodeling of the station side of the building and expect to move in in October 2011. Getting this facility operational essential to ensuring the sustainability of the project. The new location will increase the station’s visibility, improve the reliance of our signal, expand our community presence and involvement and offer lots of new partnership opportunities.

David contacted a number of local foundations in regards to our building campaign and talked to their Grants Project Managers. Unfortunately, when they found WSLR did not own the building they would be moving in to they discouraged us from submitting applications for funding. Therefore, during David’s term with the station he did not prepare a local grant proposal. However, he is currently working to help us come up with a Festival Proposal to submit for funding to the Arts and Cultural Alliance. David did suffer from a number of health challenges during his year as a VISTA which slowed his progress down. We also suffered significant delays in Phase 1 of our relocation effort. A project the contractor had estimated to take 35 days wound up taking 5 months. Therefore, we were unable to get in the new space and actually see the plan unfold. We had hoped to be further along with the vision of the media center at this time.

Impact Quote: 

The support for community media projects provided by the Transmission Project has been greatly appreciated. It is oftentimes hard to find funding for smaller grassroots organizations. Having an additional person on staff this past year has been extremely helpful in advancing the goals of WSLR and our larger vision of expanding to a full Community Media and Arts Center. Thanks!”

- Arlene Sweeting, supervisor

Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Heidi Marshall
Program Start: 
8/2002
Program End: 
8/2003
Project Description: 

AmeriCorps/ VISTA member Heidi Marshall finished development work on the C-CAN Volunteer Hub project as well as work on a new initiative: developing a “technical assessment” report that local CTCs might use as a model.

The Volunteer Hub project required finalizing the database of local CTCs, contracting them to review their data, and training them in use of the online volunteer database and volunteer opportunities directory (www.c-can.org). In the course of this project, Heidi focused on recruitment of volunteers. To date, volunteers have been matched to 12 programs around the city, and several more are scheduled to come on board this coming fall of 2003.

Project Outcome: 

In addition to recruiting and managing volunteers, Heidi has been very involved with local colleges and the University of Minnesota regarding placement of student interns within area CTCs. Heidi attended many meetings in the course of this project, and as a result, C-CAN was one of only a few, select non-profit organizations the U of Minnesota chose as partners for their community outreach program, a program that places undergraduates in social service agencies as part of course work.

This groundwork has helped us to develop a sustainable network of volunteers for local CTCs that will serve the community even after our AmeriCorps*VISTA members finish their service later this year.

Since February of 2003, Heidi has organized and facilitated two quarterly and one annual meeting for local CTCs, working with other national organizations to provide resources to our local CTC partners. As a result of her outreach work, 25 local CTC leaders and advocates, and a representative from CTC/national (Felicia Sullivan) made a presentation at our annual conference in September.

Heidi finished work with a local community agency (Pillsbury United Communities; see attached) to develop and implement a “technical assessment” project that will serve as a model for other organizations that have asked for assistance with assessments.

Impact Quote: 

The success of Heidi’s service year has resulted in increased activity and the development of formal collaborations between partners, the public and our organization, and the development of a sustainable online volunteer matching service.

Transmission Project