When Fire Strikes, Residents Turn to Community Radio

There’s only one community radio station in Lake County, California: KPFZ.  The station is run almost entirely by volunteers, and in recent years, the station has taken on a whole new role in the community: reporting on fires.

Whenever there’s a fire, KPFZ goes to a live call-in format. Hosts of the station’s various programs come in to take turns on the air. In addition to trying to answer callers’ questions and broadcasting observations of what people are seeing, the hosts also relay information from officials, like local county supervisors and Cal Fire.

Like in much of rural America, local media has taken a financial hit since the rise of the internet. During the fires “people had no other resource,” Cawn said. “They discovered KPFZ on the radio, and they were so grateful that there was someplace that was providing timely updates.”

After fires, community members have been asking for the radio station’s address to send in donations. The station isn’t asking for it, but people wanted to send money because they knew the operation was being run on a tiny budget. “Our last thought is making money,” Weiss said. “It’s making radio. That’s first and foremost.”

(courtesy of KQED)

Ownership Consolidation: The Systematic Destruction of Local Radio?

The USA radio business has seen unprecedented consolidation of ownership, with several large corporations owning thousands of local radio stations. Now there's discussions about further opening ownership limits, but even commercial operators question this direction. Mike Buxser, a former market manager was quoted in Radio Today: “Since consolidation, companies accumulated as many stations as they could in markets far and wide. Then began the cutbacks in personnel, radio-stations-in-a-box operating with little or no local programming/content".

“If holding a license for a radio station truly means serving the local public interest, then make every owner accountable for owning up to the terms of each station’s license before there is any discussion of increasing ownership limits. Anyone who’s been around the business knows it’s possible to have compelling formats, embrace and serve their local community, and make money. Consolidation has hurt the business. Allowing more is laughable.”

Update on Pacifica: The World's Most Dysfunctional Radio

Things are not looking good for the future of Pacifica Radio.

Spark News reports that the recent Pacifica Foundation board meeting saw the same old acrimonious debate on disconnected politics, the expected departure of the interim director, and the immediate resignation of the board secretary - and the board still has no apparent plan to repay a $3 million loan taken to stave off bankruptcy.

Conceived to be "democratic", the Pacifica structure and its board members are both dysfunctional and toxic. A generation ago, Pacifica was a shining light in the civil media sphere, but those halcyon days are long gone. Interim director Tom Livingston recently brought some fiscal and managerial sanity to the organization, but with his imminent departure the future looks bleak.

AMARC Asia Conference 2018

More than 200 participants from 20 countries are registered for the conference of community radios in the Asia/Pacific region..

Some of the main topics of discussion 

  • Addressing migration and displacement with community radios

  • Struggle against rising radicalism & extremisms and community radios

  • Gender violence, violence against minorities, discrimination and community radio

  • Climate change, disaster risk reduction and community radios

  • Role of community radio associations and federations

  • Speaking against the widening social and economic inequality

  • Freedom of speech, communications rights and community radios

  • Media convergence and community broadcasting

  • Sustainable Development Goals and community radios

Americans Could Barely Buy A Coffee With What They Spend Per Year on Public Media

Do you value journalism? In countries around the world, public broadcasting fills the need for journalism when commercial media fail to do so. From Europe to Australia, the average country spent $86 per capita on public broadcasting in 2014. However, in the US, it was just $3. In many states, it’s even lower.

In 2017, US president Donald Trump attempted to zero out the line item for public broadcasting, threatening to leave the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with little to distribute to hundreds of local television and radio stations, and prompting CEO Patricia Harrison to warn it would mean “the collapse of the public media system.” But Congress, which controls the budget, kept the funding level at about $445 million. Trump’s 2019 budget proposal again proposed to eliminate nearly all of the funding for public broadcasting.

KIPI-FM for the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota

South Dakota’s newest commercial FM, the one just signed on at 93.5 by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, will host an open house this week. KIPI Eagle Butte is licensed as a Class C1 FM radio with 100,000 watts at 203 meters (666 feet) of height above average terrain. KIPI “provides the first strong signal to the Cheyenne River Reservation” according to media tracking site Northpine.

The radio station will provide relevant general information, news, weather, and a variety of music while promoting a greater cultural understanding through educational programming for the Cheyenne River Reservation and general listening population.

Saudi Feminists Launch Online Radio

Operating out of a small room in an unknown country, a new internet radio station Nsawya FM (Feminism FM) broadcasts a programme aimed at campaigning for greater women's rights in Saudi Arabia, according to a report from the BBC.

Nsawya FM has two presenters and nine women producing content. All but two of the women are Saudi nationals, and some of the women live in Saudi Arabia. The women say communication between them is difficult because they live in different time zones and some have other demands on their time, including studies or work.

"We started this project to archive this phase for history, so that people would know we were real, we did exist," explained Ashtar, a Nsawa presenter who did not want so share any details about her own identity despite living outside the kingdom because she feared reprisals.

At least 17 human rights defenders and women's rights activists critical of the Saudi government have been arrested or detained since mid-May, according to the UN. Several of them have been accused of serious crimes, including "suspicious contact with foreign parties", and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

 

Local Community Journalism in South Africa: "The audience is there and the infrastructure is there.”

At Paul McNally’s first community radio station in South Africa — in Orange Farm, about 40 kilometers from Johannesburg — 350,000 people tuned in each week for bulletins about protests, service delivery issues, and the general happenings of their neighborhood. The hunger for information was so strong that, after the station aired its first legal advice show, people lined up around a schoolyard to ask their own questions. This and other examples of effective local community radio in South Africa are detailed in a new report from Nieman Lab at Harvard University.

Community Media as the Ideal Solution for Local Journalism?

"Even as polarization, corporate consolidation, and eroding trust between communities and the media threaten to damage democracy, there are inspiring innovators hard at work repairing it. These innovators are known as social entrepreneurs, and they marshal the resources of local communities to solve local problems."

So says a new report “The Bottom-Up Media Revolution."

"Europa Schools On-Air" travels to Bordeaux

A RadioExpert team of Czech students travelled to Bordeaux, France recently to join other students from partner schools for a week of activities in the Europa Schools On-Air project. Groups from Madrid, Bordeaux, London, Salerno, and Brno visited local media institutions, the wine center, and even ate freshly prepared oysters at the seaside!

The main activity of the meeting was a live broadcast by teams of radio producers/presenters comprised of participants from each partner school. Students and teachers alike reported very positive results from the meeting, and we look forward to the next project mobility in October 2018 hosted by l’Université Complutense à Madrid.

USA Community Radio Flourishes on LPFM

Community radio in the United States has been on an upward trajectory for years. Despite the malaise of commercial radio, new community stations are being licensed and debuting on Low Power FM every month.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters also offers an interactive map tool to locate their active members. Local communities across the US are discovering the many benefits of community radio.

Support for Community Media - Australian Style!

The Community Broadcasting Foundation is an independent non-profit funding agency that distributes and administers funding to support the development, creativity and sustainability of community broadcasting in Australia.

The foundation provides more than $17 million annually to about 230 community broadcasting organisations and over 800 program production groups all around Australia. The result? One of the most vibrant and sustainable community media sectors in the world!

Can Community Media Learn from Religious Broadcasters?

The Educational Media Foundation owns and/or operates 245 "christian" radio stations in the USA under brands such as "K-Love" and others. Registered as a not-for-profit educational organization, it enjoys tax-free status, while taking in $160 million in donations annually from individuals and businesses.

So what can community broadcasters learn for this phenomenon? That people who believe in your mission will pay to support it, and that building relationships with those supporters is accomplished using effective management. What do you think - is this model informative for community broadcasters?

KBBG Radio Celebrates 40 years of Serving the Black Community

Founded by labor pioneer Jimmie Porter in 1978, KBBQ  community radio has successfully served the African American community of Waterloo, Iowa for 40 years.

Now under the leadership of GM Deborah Berry, KBBQ enjoys financial stability and a new sense of purpose. Congratulations to all the folks contributing to 40 years of great community radio, and best wishes for continued success in the future!

For more on this story, go here.

San Francisco Community Radio