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A Historic Opportunity to Start a Radio Station
The airwaves are opening in 2013! This is:
- the biggest chance in a generation for communities of color, workers, women, non-English speakers, LGBTQ, and progressive voices to own the broadcast airwaves
- the largest expansion of community radio in U.S. history
- the final major opportunity to grab a slice of the FM dial
Thanks to passage of the Local Community Radio Act, nonprofit groups will have a one-time chance to apply for free FM radio licenses in cities and towns across the country on October 15, 2013! Prometheus Radio Project is supporting groups to apply for licenses and get on the air.
Resources to get on the air and learn more:
Email Updates - This email list is the primary way we connect with applicant groups, allies, and supporters. If your group wants to start a station, make sure you fill out a Group Profile. If you are an individual who wants to learn more or support the movement fill out an Individual Profile. Make sure that if you want Prometheus to support your group to apply that you complete the Group Profile throroughly and asap!
Channel Availability - Check out this list of channel availability estimates in the top 150 cities in the country. Want to build a station in your city? Can you reach out to groups or leaders in other cities? What if we had a progressive community radio station in every state capitol?
Support - Check out the comprehensive list of services that Prometheus provides, including webinars and trainings. Most of it is completely free. Since we need resources to do our work, now more than ever, we are also allowing groups to purchase more intensive levels of support, which allows us to hire more people and support more groups with small budgets.
Station Profiles - Learn about low power FM stations that already exist from Hawaii to Maine, and how they impact their communities.
Outreach - Whether you're a large national organization with hundreds of thousands of members like the NAACP, or a local community group who's tired of local issues getting ignored by the media - outreach is for everybody. Help spread the word to other groups in your area and across the country in order to add diverse and critical voices to the airwaves.
Media - Check out some of the media coverage Prometheus has gotten, including in the New York Times, Politico, NPR, and the Associated Press. The Victory Press features press from the passage of the Local Community Radio Act.
Check out the main Start a Station tab for more links and resources.
The Power of Community Radio
Low power FM community radio stations are locally owned and operated. They've proven to be powerful organizing tools for exposing government corruption, cleaning up toxic waste, winning better working conditions, and promoting local arts and culture. Community radio provides a platform for youth voices and leadership development. These stations can be streamed online and integrated with new technologies to have a global reach. In a time of deep cuts for local news departments and public spaces, community radio can fill many important needs. Read station profiles of groups we've helped get on the air.
90% of Americans listen to radio regularly. The licenses becoming available could reach millions of listeners, with a single station in an urban area possibly reaching over a hundred thousand people. In larger cities the application process for these licenses will be highly competetive, whereas rural areas will have widespread availability. What if every state capitol had a progressive radio station? What if your city had stations broadcasting in multiple languages to reach diverse communities? How about if students from your local high school had a station nearby where they could host a regular youth show to address issues facing young people, and also share their poetry?
The future of radio depends on what kinds of groups apply for these licenses. We believe that community radio is a powerful tool for social justice, progressive, and multi-lingual organizing, as well as amplifying great local artists. This is a chance for those who have been excluded from the mainstream media - and those who have been historically demonized by the media - to own the airwaves.
Most of the media we see and hear, including television, radio, books, billboards, and magazines are owned and controlled by a handful of corporations, like Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and Twentieth Century Fox. When it comes to radio, Clear Channel is by far the biggest owner of radio stations in the U.S. They own over 850 stations nationwide, plus billboards, entertainment venues, and more! Maybe that's why you hear the same songs, artists, and commercials over and over? It's no wonder Rush Limbaugh has the most listened to talk radio show, a mouthpiece for conservative ideas. Radio has long been a valuable strategic tool of corporations and the conservative right to build popular support for repressive policies, like anti-union, anti-choice, and anti-immigrant laws sweeping the U.S. It's no coincidence that Clear Channel is owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital.
Now, as our communities face deep economic and social challenges, this unprecedented expansion of community radio offers a powerful tool for the grassroots to communicate and organize. Prometheus is supporting hundreds of social justice groups and historically marginalized communities to build a new wave of people-powered multimedia radio stations.
Prometheus offers free support to groups that meet our criteria, including:
- Regular updates on the steps to apply
- Trainings and materials
- Support filing the application
- Workshops at upcoming conferences
- Connections to other groups in your area
- Connecting with existing stations to get answers
- Referrals for engineers and lawyers as needed
- Tools to start making media now