Latest news about low power radio, media justice, and the Prometheus Radio Project


Press Releases Prometheus in the News Best of Press

Press Releases

Prometheus in the News

Best of Press


Jun 25 2007 - 12:55am

Native stations aim to double their number

An outreach campaign by Native Public Media is spreading the word among tribal groups about a rare opportunity for tribes and other communities to claim a share of FM spectrum.

Jun 22 2007 - 9:53pm
Doyle bill would encourage new low-power FM stations
Friday, June 22, 2007
May 3 2007 - 11:20pm

Congressman Mike Doyle Praises Low Power FM Radio Service


Diverse Groups Congratulate the Congressman for Leadership in Fight to Expand LPFM

Congressman Mike Doyle, a 7th-term Congressman from Pittsburgh, and the Vice Chair of Congress' Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, took a public opportunity to praise the low power FM service, as he keynoted the Future of Music Coalition's Technology and IP Day, the morning of Wednesday, May 2nd, in Washington, DC.

Apr 25 2007 - 10:14pm

Radio Conciencia

Audience of low-power station in Immokalee gets music, news from back home

Apr 15 2007 - 1:44am

By M.R. KROPKO Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press - Saturday, April 14, 2007

 
CLEVELAND

Leah Prussia likes to imagine a radio station connecting the 837,000-acre White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota.

"For us the big thing about it is community building, a way to link villages, woods, lakes and miles, and use it to discuss our local issues, traditions, culture and preserve the Ojibwe language," said Prussia, deputy director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project.

Apr 12 2007 - 11:54pm


Copyright 2005 Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

January 16, 2005 Sunday

SECTION: JOURNAL NORTH; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 637 words

HEADLINE: Voice of the Valley

BYLINE: Emily Crawford Journal Staff Writer



From Wikipedia: the Pathetics, a Dixon band, perforning at a KLDK benifit for the Embudo Valley Community Library, January 14, 2007 The photo was taken by Clark Case, who along with the rest of the Dixon All Stars were waiting in the wings to take the stage

BODY:


Small town radio station manager and a host of volunteers worked to get music, story time and other programming on the air

DIXON -- The small communities of the Embudo Valley south of Taos have never gotten much, if anything, in the way of radio reception.

But Clark Case, a local wood worker, and a merry bunch of radio enthusiasts have turned this town, population 1,222, into the voice of the valley with their new FM station KLDK 96.5.

Operating out of a narrow room next to the local library, the 100-watt frequency covers a five-mile radius, reaching from Dixon to Ojo Sarco to the southeast.

"It's kind of a pie in the sky for a dinky town to have a station," Case said. "But now, people are realizing it's really happening."

KLDK is one of approximately 1,000 new low-power FM stations the Federal Communications Commission agreed to license in January 2000. The stations are restricted to noncommercial educational broadcasting only.

FCC chairman William Kennard proposed creating the community stations to address concerns that diversity was plummeting on the radio landscape. Low-power FM station licenses were eliminated in the late 1970s, prompting radio "pirates" to take to the public airwaves illegally. In 1999, the FCC cracked down on the small, illegally run stations, silencing many of them.

On its Web site, the FCC states that the LPFM service "is designed to create new opportunities for new voices to be heard on the radio."

This was good news for radio fans, local musicians, amateur engineers and DJs, and listeners with a taste for the eclectic. For Case, it meant there was a possibility that the valley could have its own station.

On the air since Dec. 20, the station is taking its role as a community voice to heart -- and has also been a product of that community. In order to buy the technical equipment required to get on the air, volunteers raised $20,000 by holding fund-raisers, writing grants and soliciting donations, Case said.

Now that the station, which is licensed to the Embudo Valley Library, is on the air, Case is busy implementing some of his programming dreams. Many of them involve the community's youth.

He has formed a radio club at the Dixon elementary school. The students will create their own weekly radio programs, which will air on KLDK. Story time is at 7:30 p.m., and for the last few days, Winnie the Pooh and friends have ruled the airwaves.

Nighttime music programs offer willing ears a taste of the out-of-the-ordinary. All of the station's music is provided by those acting as DJs and members of the community. CDs are converted to MP3 files and downloaded onto the station's computer.

The diverse music programming is a reflection of the eclectic tastes of the community, Case said. On Wednesday nights, the classic country program is followed by heavy metal. "Pacific Coast Rambler" is an alt-country show on Thursdays and is followed by a reggae show.

Cultural Energy, a radio and media nonprofit group in Taos, is currently providing KLDK with programming, such as public lectures by Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now." Case hopes to subscribe to Pacifica News Service in the near future.

Now that the station is a reality, Case is discovering just how much work and programming it takes to be on the air 24 hours a day.

"You think it all up and see it in your mind, and the reality is it takes a lot of hours to fill up a week of programming," he said.

But he is getting a lot of help. Case estimated that at least 50 people will have produced their own show in the first year. Nearly 20 people are actively involved in running the station now, and Case expects that number to grow.

It is not likely however, that KLDK will ever outgrow its mission.

"The intent was that this would be a valley station," Case said. "I knew that this was something the town would benefit from."

GRAPHIC: PHOTO BY:EDDIE MOORE/JOURNAL PHOTO: Color Doug, a dog belonging to Clark Case, lounges on the floor of radio station KLDK-FM in Dixon. Case leads a group of area residents in operating the low-power station, which has been on the air since Dec. 20 and broadcasts to a five-mile radius. PHOTO BY:EDDIE MOORE/JOURNAL PHOTO: Color Clark Case leads a small group of volunteers who operate KLDK-FM, a 100-watt radio station located in Dixon. The low-power station has been on the air since Dec. 20. PHOTO: Color The music played on KLDK-FM, a 100-watt station in Dixon, is supplied by volunteers and listeners. PHOTO: Color KLDK-FM, a 100-watt radio station that broadcasts to a five-mile radius around Dixon, operates out of this small room next to the local library.

LOAD-DATE: January 17, 2005

Apr 10 2007 - 11:33pm

 



Copyright 2000 The Durham Herald Co.

Chapel Hill Herald (Durham, NC)


May 24, 2000 Wednesday

Final Edition



SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 5



LENGTH: 1020 words



HEADLINE: Broadcasters are distorting the facts about the low-power FM issue



BYLINE: DUNCAN MURRELL Guest Columnist



BODY:



It's nice to see that corporate radio flack Wade Hargrove, counsel for the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, reads our local paper. Unfortunately, his assertions about the FCC's low-power FM radio program are just more of the same obfuscations and half-truths already perfected by the National Association of Broadcasters and National Public Radio in their successful campaign against freedom of choice in radio. Any hope we may have for community radio will die in Congress unless we act fast.

Apr 4 2007 - 11:19pm

 



Copyright 2000 Little Rock Newspapers, Inc.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)


January 21, 2000 Friday



SECTION: BUSINESS; Pg. D1



LENGTH: 630 words



HEADLINE: New radio rules favor low-power FM stations Arkansas principal helped break new ground



BYLINE: JIM LOVEL ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE



BODY:





The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules Thursday that could result in hundreds of new low-power FM radio stations springing up across America and one of the first could be in Arkansas.



Kevin McGaughey, principal of Brookland High School near Jonesboro, said he is prepared to submit the paperwork for a license to operate a station from the school. McGaughey has been working for the past year with the Low-Power Radio Coalition, an advocacy group in Washington D.C., to get the new rules approved.



"We want to develop a new learning opportunity and pull together the community," McGaughey said. "The possibilities are unlimited."



The FCC voted 4-1 to approve the new rules despite organized opposition from the National Association of Broadcasters, a lobby group representing major radio and television station owners, who argued that the low-power stations would create interference with existing stations.



"It's a sad day for radio listeners," said Edward Fritts, president of the association. He said his association "will review every option to undo the damage caused by low-power radio."



Proponents of the new rules and independent consultants disputed that argument. Dr. Ted Rappaport of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, who conducted a study of the issue, called the association's claims "blatant exaggerations."



The low-power stations can range between 10 watts and 100 watts, strong enough to cover up to about 7 square miles. Most commercial radio stations broadcast at up to 100,000 watts. The low-power stations also must be nonprofit organizations, which won't compete with existing stations.



The cost of starting a low-power station is less than $3,000, which will allow community groups, churches and schools to operate one.



"It's harder for smaller groups and individuals to get access to the airwaves," said FCC Chairman William Kennard, the agency's director. "What low-power FM radio will do is create an important new outlet."



McGaughey said he wants to start a station at his high school to use as a teaching tool. The students would operate the station with the supervision of a teacher, he said. The high school has about 280 students in Brookland, a town of about 1,100 people.



The School Board supports the proposal, McGaughey said, and has offered to help pay to start the station. He also is looking for state and federal grants that could help finance the station.



Michael Bracy, executive director of the Low-Power Radio Coalition, called McGaughey a pioneer in the effort to get FCC approval for the stations.



"The FCC acted because people like Kevin put a human face on the issue," Bracy said. "Kevin is one of the pioneers in this whole thing."



McGaughey has written letters to congressmen and the FCC supporting the new rules. Thursday, he was one of four participants nationwide who argued for the new rules in a conference call with about 40 congressional staff members.



"Brookland is becoming well-known in Washington," he said.



The FCC rules place several requirements on applicants. To hold a license during the first two years, groups must show that they are headquartered in or have three-quarters of their members residing within 10 miles of the proposed station.



No group can own more than one low-power station during the first two years. The licenses will be valid for eight years. Stations must broadcast at least 36 hours each week.



No existing broadcaster can have ownership or programming arrangements with any low-power station.



The FCC will decide cases where there are multiple applicants for one license by using a point system that favors those who have established community presence and pledge to air at least eight hours of local programming daily.



The FCC could begin issuing the licenses as early as May.



Slug Line: bradio21 1D



LOAD-DATE: November 18, 2004

Mar 27 2007 - 11:17pm

Copyright 2004 Times Publishing Company  
St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

September 19, 2004 Sunday

SECTION: CITRUS TIMES; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 1544 words

HEADLINE: Challenge for next time: Stay on the air

SERIES: AFTER THE STORMS

BYLINE: JUSTIN GEORGE

BODY:
Citrus County emergency operations leaders imagined their press releases were falling off television anchors' tables. Sheriff Jeff Dawsy couldn't understand why radio and television stations seemed to be ignoring Citrus County while Frances ripped off roofs in Inverness, battered ships in Crystal River and flooded streets in Homosassa.

Wanting to get information on the airwaves and into Citrus residents' anxious ears, Dawsy took County Commission Chairman Josh Wooten aside in the county's cramped Emergency Operations Center one day during the storm.

He handed him a stack of phone numbers to several local and Tampa Bay area radio and television stations.

"Hey, you work the phones on these numbers," Wooten said recalling the order, "and I'll work the phones on these numbers."

Local radio stations were off the air. Tampa TV and radio stations appeared to be ignoring Citrus' press releases, which sought to update residents on how the county was faring, cancellations, closings and ways to seek help.

Dawsy thought of a way to get their attention: Call the stations and ask if they'd be willing to interview two of the county's top-ranking officials.

By getting on the air, Dawsy figured, the message would, too.

Desperate times called for desperate and calculated measures, including stroking WFLA-TV Ch 8's ego by lauding its weather tracking system - a pat on the back Citrus officials knew the bay area station couldn't resist since it could use the comment later in a self-promoting commercial sound bite.

"We even said, "Your VIPIR system is so great we're using it in our EOC,' " County Administrator Richard Wesch said, "just trying to get on."

It worked, and soon Dawsy was flooding the airwaves at a time dangerous storm surges were threatening to drown the Crystal River coastline.

In the aftermath of the storm, county officials felt ignored by the state, which failed to bring adequate water and ice to Citrus after the storm. They felt ignored by Progress Energy, which failed to follow the county's priority list for power restoration.

But what surprised them was the silent treatment they received from the electronic media. Now, officials are considering creating their own low-power radio station or using an existing one to communicate with residents themselves when disaster strikes.

"We had contingency plans," Wooten said. "Evidently, these radio stations didn't have contingency plans."
 
+++

There are several reasons Citrus County may have been downplayed or ignored by the electronic media, government and radio officials said. The county is considered part of the Tampa Bay area, but with Frances becoming a storm the size of Texas the entire region was affected.

Because of that, more populous Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and even Hernando counties are going to receive more air time.

Citrus was treated "like a redheaded stepchild," David Marcocci, general manager of Citrus 95.3 and 96.3 The Fox said.

"I wish some of the Tampa radio stations would take us into consideration," he said of the county. "Some of those stations do come into Citrus County, and their towers are in (safer) Pasco County. When they do talk about Pinellas and Pasco and Hernando County, it would be nice for them to talk about Citrus."

Marcocci's stations are two of only a few that broadcast from Citrus County. Problem was, they - like nearly every local station - went off the air early during Frances.

Midmorning Sept. 5, when Citrus began feeling the effects of the tropical storm, power was knocked out to both of Marcocci's stations just after radio officials decided to begin simulcasting with Bay News 9 television broadcasts.

The radio stations, which are in Homosassa, phones and an Ozello tower and transmitter were sapped of power until Sept. 8.

At nearby WIFL or WOW Radio 104.3, which is based in Meadowcrest and serves communities between Gainesville and Brooksville, a loss of power also took the station off the air until Sept. 9. Both it and 102.7, an oldies station, and another local FM station transmit from a Cedar Key tower, which lost power and was inoperable and unapproachable because of flooding.

While WOW's studio had a generator, a generator couldn't be used at the flooded tower, said Lisa Cupelli, chief operating officer of Nature Coast Broadcasting, which owns WOW 104.3.

The station had planned to stay live all the way through the storm with local DJs passing on local information and reporters reporting from areas affected by the storm.

But that plan - like many - crashed once power did, and residents were left in the dark.

"Because of the flood waters, we don't get newspapers," said Teresa Lecompte, a Cedar Lakes Estates resident, whose flooded neighborhood was without power for almost five days. "No electricity: we don't get TV. Battery operated radios: we only get stations in Tampa or Orlando and they don't talk about Citrus County.

"We don't get mail. How do we get information when we're flooded in?"

Both Marcocci and Cupelli empathize with residents such as Lecompte. But, Cupelli said, radio stations that were inadequately prepared for the storm should not be the only ones scrutinized. With stations' phone and fax lines dead, the county should have switched to another method of getting in touch with local media outlets, she said.

"It was a breakdown in communication," Cupelli said.

No one should be blamed for the lack of information, Cupelli said. Lessons, however, should be learned, she said.

"There's only so much you can do," she said. "I think this area hasn't had anything this drastic happen in so long. And we had so many things happen back to back," Cupelli said. "None of us prepared, but all of us are working to make sure none of this happens again."
 
+++

Officials of Citrus 95.3, 96.3 The Fox and WOW 104.3 all plan to use generators the next time their power is knocked off. Citrus 95.3 is planning to buy or rent portable transmitters, and its engineer is working with local government officials to see if the station can become a priority for power restoration during the next disaster.

"We just need to find a way to get information to us when we stay on," Marcocci said.

Tom Franklin, general manager of WYKE-Ch. 49, the local cable access channel funded by the Key Training Center that airs a steady stream of government programming, may have a solution.

The station lost power Sunday and was back up Monday afternoon. While they were on the air, they were able to put Sheriff Dawsy, Wesch, Wooten and Joe Eckstein, manager of Citrus' Emergency Operations Center, on the air a few times during the storm.

But at least 55,000 county residents, out of power at the height of the storm, couldn't watch the broadcasts.

Franklin is now working with WOW 104.3 to simulcast direct feeds or taped segments from county officials during storms so battery powered radios could pick up the messages.

The radio station, meanwhile, is developing a fallback plan with the cable channel to broadcast from Channel 49's Lecanto headquarters if power goes out at its home.

Another problem Franklin noted after the storm was a steady communication link between his station and the EOC, also located in Lecanto.

While officials were able to drive from the EOC to WYKE's studio to get on the air, hurricane-force winds would make that impossible. Telephone lines could also be damaged by storms.

But WYKE hopes to buy equipment to create a wireless connection between the television studio and the EOC that would allow the station to get direct video feeds during the storm, Franklin said.

Another solution, county officials said, is building a larger EOC than the bunker on 3425 W Southern St. County officials have included money in the next fiscal year's budget to design a new building, which will include an expanded media center that will allow reporters to be based at the building during storms.

Dawsy, meanwhile, is working with the county to install a radio station transmitter at the new building, which would beam out emergency broadcasts on a low-power radio frequency.

Currently, a radio band exists in Crystal River to inform motorists of tourist destinations. County officials are investigating whether that band can be expanded and used for emergencies, too, or whether another needs to be created.

In January 2000, the FCC created a new low-power FM radio service, which is available to "non-commercial educational entities and Travellers' Information Station entities" but not commercial businesses or individuals, according to the FCC.

Maximum effective radiated power for these stations is 100 watts, and they are not protected from the interference caused by other full-service radio stations.

A construction permit or license from the FCC is required before construction or operation of a low-power FM station can begin. Cupelli, the local radio station COO, pledged to help the county navigate complex FCC laws to make that happen.

County officials think it's worth pursuing. With the storm long gone, all that's left is to clean up debris and prepare for the next one.

"We have to control our own destiny," Wooten said.
 
Justin George can be reached at (352) 860-7309 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO; Sheriff Jeff Dawsy

LOAD-DATE: September 19, 2004

Nov 17 2006 - 10:04pm

Radio Conciencia

By Jennifer Sutcliffe (Contact)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Francisca Cortes takes a phone call from a man who identifies himself as “The Mexican.”

“Good morning, this is Consciousness Radio,” Cortes says in Spanish. She wears a worn headset and speaks into a microphone rigged up with masking tape.

The man on the other end requests that she play a song by Los Alegres de La Sierra. She’s just started her 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. radio show and already two other callers have called in with requests.

Cortes puts the song in the queue and continues reading news from the Mexican newspaper La Jornada on the air.

The low-power, 100-watt station of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers transmits politics and culture from the homelands of Immokalee residents. Radio Conciencia — its name in Spanish — reaches 15 miles from its location in the heart of the city. One part entertainment and two parts information, it’s like a foreign-language top-40 political platform.

The deejays on Radio Conciencia weren’t trained professionally in radio broadcast. In one sweep, a grassroots group in favor of community radio — called the Prometheus Project — set them up in December 2003. Volunteers assembled donated equipment and showed them the basics of monitoring a sound switchboard before handing them the mic.

“We were all very nervous when we started,” Cortes says.

After three years of practice, she flips switches and creates playlists like a pro. She calmly reads news feeds from Oaxaca, Mexico, where she’s from, and earnestly informs farmworkers about their labor rights.

Through all of this, she gains the trust of her listeners. New people are joining the ranks of the town’s immigrant farmers every day, and the more workers who support the coalition, the merrier the worklife of Immokalee, she says.

Photo Gallery

Photo: Anthony Souffle

- - -

Behind the coalition’s headquarters, the trailer temporarily housing WCTI (107.9 on the FM dial) is quiet except for the voice of a soft-spoken deejay.

The scene is a microcosm of the city, a place that appears undisturbed throughout much of the day while farmworkers are laboring in the fields.

Most of the radio shows are in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Zapotec and Quiche. The programs provide a rare service to non-Spanish speakers.

“Even though we’re a mainly Hispanic community, some farmworkers don’t speak Spanish very well,” Cortes says. “We want to reach them, too.”

On the station, the jokes aren’t offensive. The airwaves are ad-free. And every call gets answered. Cortes and many of the other 13 deejays approach the job like they’re on a mission.

Some of the radio hosts are staff workers with the coalition, but most are volunteers. All are farmworkers who spend part of the year picking fruits and vegetables, and part of the year working with the coalition.

Cortes, 24, was one of the station’s first deejays. Her daily lunchtime shift mixes horoscopes with hard news licensed by foreign news outlets.

Immigrants who miss home are always wondering what’s happening in their countries, she says. “It helps them, which is why we have to do this,” Cortes says.

Mexico-native Gerardo Reyes-Chávez, 29, is a migrant farmworker with a watermelon cooperative in northern Florida. He returns home to Immokalee this time of year, to help out farmworkers with concerns about their rights as workers.

“I’m their cheerleader,” he says.

His weekly show covers everything from local government to policy. Last Friday, he discussed housing options for migrant farmers who have recently arrived.

Reyes-Chávez says he wants to bring more guests and experts on his show. Right now, though, few people get the chance to sit in the old school desk placed in front of the radio switchboard. That’s where guests sit in during interviews.

But the space is just not conducive to a proper one-on-one. The guest microphone, which now sits in a holder made of a tape dispenser, doesn’t always work. Right now, the station doesn’t look as professional as the deejays would like.

Improvements won’t happen until the non-profit coalition can raise funds for new equipment — taller microphones and a fully-functioning console, for example — and their community center is renovated.

- - -

The drive to Immokalee takes about an hour down Immokalee Road in Naples. Not far outside the city, WCTI comes in and out of tune.

But walk into any of the businesses near the coalition — like the zapateria (shoe store), La Fiesta #3 grocery or the city’s largest store, Winn Dixie — and 107.9 FM is probably on the dial.

Three years after its initiation, Consciousness Radio is the primary source of news and community information for residents of Immokalee.

The early, long and late hours of migrant farmworkers make it difficult for them to catch up with the day’s events, Cortes says. And word about the coalition doesn’t always spread fast enough.

“Most of us (Immokalee residents) don’t have time to sit down and read the newspaper, a lot of us don’t have access to the Internet, and some don’t even have televisions,” Cortes says.

But everyone owns a radio, she says. Even winter farmerworkers can get their news while on the job, saving the evenings for much-needed rest.

Juan Pedro, a.k.a. “The Mexican,” listens on a portable radio while he works on a nearby citrus farm. “I’m always listening,” Pedro says in Spanish. “I carry this radio with me to keep up with what’s going on.”

On his breaks, Pedro gathers with other workers to call in song requests. These account for most of the calls hosts receive during their shifts.

Reyes-Chávez says farmworkers can be “a bit shy” about talking on the air about anything related to their jobs. They feel more comfortable when their identities are not being broadcast to the entire city.

But they do call in. Off the air, hosts help them problems with their jobs, or their employers — much like they would if they had walked into the coalition office.

- - -

During harvest times of the year, Immokalee has about 15,000 to 20,000 residents working on the farms. If their ears are open, they’ll hear about their labor rights on WCTI. It’s been around long enough that word has spread.

“Everyone in the farmworker community at least knows about the station,” Reyes-Chávez says.

By the response the coalition receives from announcing events and demonstrations, he knows a large percentage of that group is listening regularly. “We’ll get thousands of people attending (coalition events) — much larger numbers than when we didn’t have the station,” he says.

He says the radio station was instrumental in their wage war against Taco Bell, which ended in a coalition victory in 2005. And the station plays an important part in the group’s mission — to reclaim the rights of farmworkers, Reyes-Chávez says.

“It’s accessible to the whole community,” he says. “It’s like having a meeting with the entire city.”

After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, for example, the coalition received several calls about a farming cooperative that had not paid its workers in several weeks because of crop damage.

Without naming the company, one of the deejays announced to farmworkers that if they hadn’t been paid, they should come to the coalition headquarters.

“That was around 4 p.m.,” Reyes-Chávez says. “By 6 p.m., hundreds of people were lined up outside.”

The coalition then confronted the owner of the cooperative over the phone, and he admitted he was wrong. He agreed to meet with coalition workers to sort out the issue.

In Immokalee, radio is the wave of the future.