Common Frequency

Davis, CA

To provide information about non-commercial radio broadcasting with the aim of facilitating more public involvement in non-commercial radio. Goals include:
-Alert non-profit and educational institutions regarding broadcast application opportunities. Travel and give presentations for starting new radio facilities.
-Encourage public participation in radio broadcasting, especially to underrepresented, minorities, youth, student, disabled, and local viewpoints.
-Promote a diversity of viewpoints on the public airwaves through the airing of grassroots-produced public affairs programming.
-Promote music education and independent artists on non-commercial radio.
-Provide resources and consultation, and participate in creating new stations, applying for radio channels, and providing information on governance.

CF is directly involved in grantwriting for radio facilities, networking proposed facilities to enable content-sharing among grassroots radio outlets, and building its own facility.

CF directly aids other community nonprofits to in turn help the citizens of the communities they represent by:

-Providing them cost-free engineering and legal services to start new radio stations to groups that cannot afford them (CF has provided $61,000 in free professional services in ‘09-10 in several states including IL, KS, VA, NY, NC, PA, & OR)

-Having a media literacy campaign directed towards underrepresented factions, instigating local broadcast projects.

-Providing grantwriting services (CF wrote PTFP grants totaling $345,000 in 2010, free of cost, for nonprofits that represent lower socioeconomically diverse people to help them gain media access in the California counties of San Diego, Tulare, and San Joaquin).

CF is working with over a dozen radio applicants to make public access radio stations where community members can create their own public affairs shows to empower local participation in the realm of promoting social, economic, and environmental justice.

Supported Projects

Community Broadcast Coordinator

Gavin Dahl

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.

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.

Transmission Project