radio

WERU-FM Community Radio

Location:
East Orland, ME

to provide a community-based, noncommercial radio service for the people living in the areas covered by the station’s signal; to broadcast programs designed to serve the needs of those not currently served by other broadcast media; to be a voice of many voices offering a wide variety of people an opportunity to share their experiences, concerns, and perspectives with their neighbors over the WERU airwaves.

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.

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

GreenBlueGray Project Developer

Organization: 
Reclaim the Media
VISTA Name: 
Amber Cortes
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
7/2011
Project Description: 

Our VISTA will help to launch a new hybrid radio/web media project serving high-quality news and features to community radio audiences in the Seattle area. The VISTA will help design and support a project workflow for recruiting news and information providers, organizing news producers, and preparing content for publication. The VISTA will help recruit and coordinate volunteer radio and media producers from regional community radio stations to host and produce programming. The associate will help create and maintain relationships with partnering media outlets, help maintain a project website, and help deepen network relationships among innovate grassroots, community and ethnic media outlets in the Northwest

The VISTA will also work with the project manager and RTM to conduct outreach to participating news outlets looking for weekly/daily news to feature, to maintain the project website, and the conduct community outreach to help promote the project.

Youth and Volunteer Outreach and Training

Organization: 
Zumix
VISTA Name: 
Samuel Russell
Program Start: 
6/2005
Program End: 
6/2006
Project Description: 

The VISTA will assist in training volunteers for the radio, preparing youth to assume positions of responsibility at the station-including training new station volunteers themselves. He or she will also help to prepare technical infrastructure for the new firehouse facility that Zumix will move into during summer ‘07.

Project Outcome: 

Since Sam’s arrival, we have put a radio station on the air and are also streaming on the internet. We have undergone several rounds of training, preparing youth and adults to participate as music hosts and news reporters for the station. Sam has been involved in all phases of this process, helping to build the infrastructure, train radio staff and conduct outreach.

Sam also assumed partial responsibility for starting “The VIllage,” a weekly meeting of youth and staff that allowed for wide-ranging discussions of issues important to the Zumix community, Also, he was the key link between Zumix and the B.U. School of Digital Imaging, which resulted in a video documentary on Zumix. This video has already proven to be an effective outreach and fundraising tool for our organization.

Outreach Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Tom Schwallie
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2005
Project Description: 

In building the capacity of the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy, Tom took on the following responsibilities:

Media Monitoring – this includes daily logging of local news coverage for the studies that GRIID produces yearly on election coverage, race & gender representation, and any other issue that we may be monitoring. This may also include occasional monitoring of entertainment media; commercials, movies, ads, etc.

Grant Funded Projects – this includes assisting GRIID on grant funded projects that involve working with students and community groups on issues such as tobacco, gender issues and the West Michigan Progressive Directory. This work gives us an opportunity to apply the resources developed in the media monitoring process.

Web Site Maintenance and Design – Tom has learned some of the basics of web design and has helped update and create new content for the GRIID website (www.griid.org). In particular, he updated the GRIID media directory and the GRIID lending library pages. Tom also designed and created his AmeriCorps VISTA web page (www.grcmc.org/americorps/tom/).

Community Outreach Projects – working on various community-based projects that GRIID is involved in through the Progressive Directory. This involves attending meetings, conducting media trainings, producing media with community groups, and promoting the coalition building through the Progressive Directory. In many ways this is the main outcome goal of GRIID – getting community groups to develop their own media strategies.

Project Outcome: 

Tom played an essential role in completing the Youth Anti-Tobacco Advocacy Project (http://www.griid.org/antitobacco/) He collected and correlated all the data for this study and created the online report. He also worked with the student volunteers in creating the study and accompanied them when they presented the study to the Grand Rapids City commission. Tom also helped in the creation of several grant-funded video productions that GRIID produced, assisting in both the editing and the filming process.

Tom does about half of the actual news watching that GRIID undertakes, and is responsible for documenting and tabulating all of the news watching data collected. He also has taken an active part in writing GRIID studies examining local media coverage on various issues. Over the last six months, Tom played a significant role in creating the content in GRIID’s Election Watch 2004 feature.

Tom worked on the grant funded Video Voter Project. This project tied into GRIID’s election monitoring and education efforts. Tom’s work monitoring and documenting news coverage were important components of the Video Voter Project.

Tom has been involved in several projects designed to reach out and empower community groups. Tom has been one of the producers of Catalyst Radio, a weekly radio program on the CMC’s radio station WYCE FM. Catalyst Radio provides news analysis and interviews featuring local community groups and organizations. Tom writes half of the news analysis pieces as well as being one of the shows on-air voices. He also is responsible for setting up and conducting the interviews on occasion as well as updating the Catalyst Radio website every week.

Another community outreach effort that Tom has been involved with is GRIID’s work on FCC license renewals procedure education. This is an effort to build an awareness in the community on the FCC license renewal process which was designed to hold the local TV media accountable to community needs. As part of this project, Tom has given presentations, created mailing literature, and helped create online resources.

GRIID maintains a large collection of documentaries pertaining to issues of media literacy and media and democracy. Tom has helped organize and promote public showings of these documentary films. Tom also helped facilitate public discussions following the films.

Article on the Importance of Radio in Disaster Situations

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Organization: 
Prometheus Radio Project

An article on the importance of Community Radio Recovery in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake by corps member Brandy Doyle demonstrates the importance of having community radio in the United States.

Shires Media Partnership, Inc.

Location:
Bennington, VT

Through traditional radio broadcasting on WBTN-AM and through new media such as on-line streaming and the building of on-line community forums, the Shires Media Partnership, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), provides large-voice venues for ordinary citizens. Our programming consists of citizen voices, local news, local sports, music and New England professional sports. We serve Bennington and adjacent New York and Massachusetts communities.

The task of Shires Media is to provide the greater Bennington community with a voice for itself. The air space allotted to WBTN-AM by the Federal Communications Commission is seen by us as a community resource with the potential to express and enhance the lives of the people of the community. Through traditional radio broadcasting and through new media such as on-line streaming and the building of on-line community forums, the Shires Media Partnership provides large-voice venues for ordinary citizens.

We presently have radio programs featuring the voice of the local job service, health care shows, and we provide free air time to a variety of government organizations relating to education, employment and labor issues, and local governance On a regular basis, we instruct listeners to dial 2-1-1 for help in life situations (see http://www.vermont211.org/AN).

As well as providing a constant stream of air time to local NGOs and national NGOs to promote various anti-poverty and employment or employment-training programs, Shires Media Partnership helps to ensure that messages from such organizations get disseminated as widely as possible in ways that even the poorest of citizens can access thus helping to bridge the digital divide.

We also provide outreach to local schools, thus assuring that students from all socio-economic backgrounds develop media literacy (see North Bennington Graded Schools Radio Station).

Common Frequency

Location:
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.

Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center

Location:
Urbana, IL

In its tenth year, the Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) is a grassroots organization committed to using media production and distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice. The UCIMC fosters the creation and distribution of media, art, and narratives emphasizing underrepresented voices and perspectives, and promotes empowerment and expression through media and arts education. To this end, we own and operate a Community Media and Arts Center located in the historic post office building in downtown Urbana, Illinois. The Center includes a radio station, media production studios, a performance venue, art gallery, artist in residence studios, a library, public access computer labs, bike repair center, and meeting spaces. The UCIMC runs a 24/7 low power radio station, publishes a monthly newspaper, operates a daily website, and hosts numerous community listservs, all freely available to the community.

The UCIMC is strongly supported by and embedded in communities with little access mainstream media. The roots of poverty lay in a lack of access to participation in the decisions that affect one’s life, including the decisions about the allocation of resources and power. The UCIMC works to eradicate poverty through empowering residents to “become the media” - amplifying unheard voices, inspiring and uniting those who work for change, and helping to shift and reframe public discourse. For example, residents pressing for the clean up of a toxic waste site in their neighborhood used UCIMC-facilitated investigative journalism and organizing to get the city and EPA involved in cleaning the site.Over 44,000 free books have been shipped to Illinois prisoners through UCIMC’s Books to Prisoners program. The UCIMC is an official Community Technology Center in Illinois and is a key partner in our community’s NTIA application that was just awarded $22.5 million for broadband infrastructure.

Transmission Project