The Main Street Project

Within the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, there exists twin neighborhoods– Frogtown and Phillips, both of which serve as gateways and as homes to recent immigrants and refugees. Though these two Twin Cities communities are separated by the Mississippi River, they mirror each other in many aspects.

Working diligently within these two culturally rich neighborhoods for the past eight years has been the Main Street Project. The Main Street Project runs programs focused on building the capacity of people in the community to create and shape their own media. One way they do this is by providing groups in the community with portable studios. These innovative studios come with everything necessary to create a podcast and can be rented for free and for any amount of time needed. The creation of these podcasts is just the first step in transforming the negative light in which the media typically portrays Frogtown and Phillips.

The historic opportunity to start for a radio station has ignited the Main Street Project to launch Twin Cities Community Radio to bring low power radio to the Twin Cities. Their vision for a  station is community focused. In a area where the media noticeably lacks language diversity bilingual programming is an absolute must for this station, but that is the not the only thing on the menu. Strictly local music and talk radio where the younger and older generations meet and discuss relevant problems will also be heard. These older generations include American Indian Elders, as the Twin Cities is home to the highest concentration of urban American Indians. This  collaboration should create unique and intriguing programming to listeners in the Twin Cities.

The Main Street Project has been at the forefront in making the opportunity for new stations known to communities outside of the Twin Cities. Throughout the last few years the Main Street Project has been reaching out to various organizations about the upcoming opportunity of low power radio, holding online presentations for groups across states. There has also been a plethora of in-person community meetings discussing the approaching opportunity. There is a common emotion that ends each meeting—hopeful and excited.

Danielle Mkali, an organizer with the Main Street Project, discusses the potential lasting effects of the establishing of a local radio station, “It's been so inspiring to think that we can build a public institution together that would impact people positively for generations to come in a time where people talk about resources being so scarce.” She is also describes the looming dark clouds that hold the challenges of creating a station. Despite a lack of resources, the community support for Main Street Project is without a doubt overwhelming. This organization will further inform and empower by reaching a larger audience as they move onto their local airwaves. What better way to continue the fight?