Posts Tagged ‘community radio’
What would you do with your own local radio station?
Would you provide local news that no one else covers? Play music from local artists? Discuss and debate the issues that matter to your community? Revive radio dramas?
The Federal Communications Commission is about to open a rare window for non-profit organizations to apply for their very own Low Power FM (LPFM) radio station. Frequencies will open up in communities across the country and now is the perfect time to get involved to see what is possible in your area.
LPFMs are non-profit community-run radio stations that have a broadcast range of about 10 miles — a feature that ensures they serve local communities. LPFMs give local musicians an opportunity to be heard on the radio that they don’t have on corporate radio. And they are a great source for local news and emergency response.
Free Press is teaming up with the Prometheus Radio Project to help qualified organizations apply for their own community radio station. Fill out this form to get more information about the application process. Starting an LPFM isn’t easy — but we’re here to help.
Free Press is a nonpartisan organization building a nationwide movement for media that serve the public interest. Learn more at www.freepress.net.
In December of 2010 the House and Senate passed the Local Community Radio Act by voice vote in both chambers. Reps. Dave Loebsack (D) and Tom Latham (R) were co-sponsors of this important legislation. President Obama signed the LPFM act into law on January 5, 2011.
For everything you need to know about how to apply for a LPFM station in your community, here are some links.
FCC Report Vindicates Community Radio, Again
Prometheus Radio Project prometheusradio.org/fcc-report
On January 5, the FCC released a long-awaited report on the economic impact of low power FM (LPFM) stations on their full-power commercial neighbors. The FCC’s report was required by the Local Community Radio Act, in a provision that had long been requested by commercial broadcasters fighting against the expansion of community radio. As expected, the 100+ page study revealed that LPFM stations do not cause harm to other stations.
In the words of the report, “the presenceof LPFM stations has no measurable effect on the economic performance of the average full-service commercial FM station.”
What does this say about the broader impact of LPFM stations? Although they have a neutral effect on other stations, the report includes several conclusions about the positive impact stations have in their communities. The authors note that “LPFM stations appear to be much more likely to carry a variety of programming genres than full-service commercial FM stations.” Instead of subscribing to a single common format, most community radio stations include one or sometimes many genres of music and talk that are otherwise unavailable.
Measuring listenership is difficult because most LPFM stations are located outside the markets rated by Arbitron (though this will change with the passage of the Local Community Radio Act). However, for the LPFM stations that are rated, the report found that many achieved high values of what’s called Time Spent Listening (“TSL”). This rating “suggests that the popular LPFM stations tend to attract a small but loyal fan base, which tunes in for long periods of time and/or switches stations less frequently than the average full-service station listener.”
For community radio producers and supporters, these conclusions will be no surprise. But it’s helpful that the FCC’s own research supports the common-sense notion that community radio serves a greater diversity of listeners and needs than do commercial stations.
To inform the report, Prometheus submitted the results of our LPFM survey data on stations financials as well as earlier formal comments to the FCC. The authors extensively cite both our filings, even referencing what we think is the main point: “Prometheus argues that the premise for the study is flawed because the Commission’s goals would be well served if LPFM stations are providing competition to the radio industry and because incumbents do not have a right to be protected from competition.”
After all, even if LPFM stations did present an economic threat to their neighbors, wouldn’t this be cause for celebration, as commercial stations would be forced to better serve their communities in order to retain listeners? As we noted in our comments, the FCC should not be in the business of protecting incumbent broadcasters from new ones.
The study also mentions our argument that many LPFM stations are reaching new listeners who are otherwise unserved by local media, meaning that stations don’t necessarily draw listeners away from other stations, but rather increase radio listenership in general. For many of us, commercial radio isn’t worth listening to, because it doesn’t reflect our local communities, our language, our politics, or our culture. Expanding community radio may actually increase the viability of FM radio as more people find a reason to tune in.
[Enough about the caucuses already. Dave Bradley and I were guests on KRUU awhile back on the program PLANET ERSTWILD with James Moore. We enjoyed a lively conversation about national media policy, the FCC, LPFM radio, community radio, the media landscape in Iowa as it pertains to political talk radio, and more. To listen to the podcast click here. The LPFM bill was signed into law January 5 by President Obama which should pave the way for more community radio stations in more Iowa towns. Here is a new year message from KRUU, the "Voice of Fairfield." True community radio. Every town should have one.]
Dear community radio lovers,
Yesterday I sent thanks to KRUU’s 80-plus volunteer show hosts for sharing their passions weekly and coming together to create a gem of a radio station in a jewel of a community.
Thanks to this citizen collective, Fairfield is not “Radio Nowhere” as Bruce Springsteen laments:
I was trying to find my way home,
But all I heard was a drone.
I was sitting around a dead dial,
Just another lost number in a file.
Dancing down a dark hole,
Just searching for a world with some soul.
So what’s he looking for?
I want a thousand guitars.
I want pounding drums.
I want a million different voices speaking in tongues.
That’s us, Bruce! No more Tenth Avenue Freeze Out. No corporate playlists, which 80% of stations adhere to.
[PLEASE NOTE: "Tribute to the Boss: Music of Bruce Springsteen" concert coming up Jan 20 & 21 at the Sondheim in support of local public radio. Tickets available at the box office. Only $15. Call 641 472-2787.]
Cut to Axl Rose of Guns’n'Roses a few days ago talking to the L.A. Times:
There was a station [playing] the best two weeks of music in L.A. I ever heard. It’d go from Queen’s “Dead on Time” to “Fingerprint File” by the Stones, to “Rockaria” by ELO, to “The Theme from ‘S.W.A.T.’ “ Just crazy, fun music. I turned to my friends and everybody was like, “Yes!” I called the station and said, “I will do anything to help promote your station.” And they go, “We’re just dumping listeners.” I said, “But this is it! This is amazing!”
We’re with you, Axl. As is one of our listeners who heard Mike Ragogna interview Trombone Shorty a week ago and wrote: “Enjoyed the interview with Troy Andrews, I live in New Orleans and have followed him since the beginning.”
Then he started sending $22 a month on Paypal! Thank you, Robert Ducasse.
Amazing. Doing community radio here in Fairfield, touching someone in New Orleans about one of their hometown heroes, inspiring them to throw a lifeline our way. What a world. Our website is getting over a million hits a month.
2011 has been a landmark year for local public radio in Fairfield. From Corey Hickenbottom’s graceful management to the Dream Green series to celebrating our first three intern positions to a wonderful feature in The Iowan to teaching a course on Radio Broadcasting at MUM to incredible work from our KRUU core corps to some great new shows in the wings. We’re ready to take things to the next level in 2012.
I’m setting my sights on getting the station properly funded this year and getting KRUU’s story across as a vital organ in the city’s cultural landscape. If you have ideas, contacts, or inspirations, let me know.
If you’re interested in volunteering, we’ve got an interesting range of work for you to choose from. Like editing interviews with Merle Haggard or Dave Matthews or Rickie Lee Jones or Tony Bennett or Yo-Yo Ma or Joss Stone or Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
“You’re actually a solar-powered station? That’s fabulous. I think this is my first interview with a solar station. Congratulations! Congratulate everyone there who brought this to fruition.”
Thanks, Graham, especially coming from a renewable energy advocate like yourself. And congratulations to the whole community because our solar system was designed, donated, and delivered by over 70 individuals, organizations and companies. A pure community effort, plain and simple, just like the station.
Speaking of which, thanks for your support, past, present and to come.
Happiest of New Years!
or should i say Happy New Hear…?
Listen fresh, listen local.
SUPPORT LOCAL PUBLIC RADIO.
Be HEAR Now.
Call us at 641 209-1083, to learn about volunteering ops.