Summer 2015 Broadcast

Making Waves, One New Radio Station at a Time!

Making Waves, One New Radio Station at a Time!



The last several months have been a whirlwind of energy in the world of community radio. It seems like there's a new Low Power FM station on the air somewhere in the US almost every day! Amidst the largest expansion of community radio in the history of the technology, it's clear that LPFM is here to stay. And everyday, we at Prometheus are working to support new radio stations that feature local voices and perspectives not heard anywhere else.


As thousands of local communities across the US work to organize volunteers and raise funds before their LPFM construction permits expire, Prometheus is hitting the road, providing direct organizational and technical support to make sure these communities succeed. One new station at a time, we are changing who makes and controls the media in this country and we need your support to do it. Consider becoming a monthly sustainer of Prometheus at $5 or $10 a month.


Check out what the Prometheus Radio Project has been up to—from building radio stations in Charleston, Atlanta and California, to demystifying audio cables in Detroit, to installing wireless mesh networks in Nicaragua.



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 Inside This Issue

 Radio Barnraisings, One Community at a Time 

Over the last several months we have been traveling the country, partnering with grassroots organizations and building new community radio stations. Five years after we won passage of the Local Community Radio Act, new Low Power FM stations are going on the air each month. Not only do these new stations add some variety on the radio dial, but they serve as outlets for voices historically marginalized from the media.

Every Prometheus station build is organized in the spirit of the Amish barnraising tradition where an entire community gathers to build a barn together. We work with each local organization to gather friends and neighbors to pick up hammers, soldering irons and microphones to get the new station on the air. While it's not the most efficient way to build a radio station, it's a great way to build community and demystify radio technology.Soldering at Sagal Radio (left) and KOGI-LP (right)We've been so busy building recently, it's been a while since we let you know about our latest projects. Here is some of what we've done in the last six months.


Ohm Radio 96.3 FM WOHM-LP- Charleston, South Carolina

Prometheus engineers and WOHM staff assemble LPFM antennaIn June, Engineering Director Paul Bame and Station Support Director Allan Gomez, pictured right assembling the antenna, traveled to Charleston to build WOHM-LP. Ohm Radio's mission is to provide local programming that "promotes democracy, sustainability and a healthy community; to broadcast programming that reflects and strengthens the diverse cultural fabric of our local community; and to educate our listening audience about artists, musicians and all artists that uniquely express an understanding of our community and our world." They went live on August 1st and you can check out their live stream on the web!


Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Ownes Valley, KOGI-LP - Big Pine, California

This Spring, Prometheus traveled to California to join the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley in building their own radio station. The new Low Power FM station broadcasts from a new studio in the Tribal Office and covers the entire reservation, surrounding areas and even reaches the town of Bishop several miles to the North on 97.7 FM.

In addition to music, tribal news and community events, KOGI-LP provides cultural and educational programming about local environmental issues, preventative health and wellness, and traditional music. Other goals of the station include teaching the Paiute language and fostering inter-generational communication through interviews of tribal elders conducted by youth. The station does not broadcast a live webstream (yet), so you will have to travel to Big Pine to listen!


Sagal Radio - Clarkston, Georgia

Sagal Radio contacted Prometheus to help build a new radio studio after a fire destroyed their studio last year. The station broadcasts programming in six different languages—Somali, Amharic, Karen, Swahili, Bhutanese/Nepali and English—on AM 1420 during the weekends and 24/7 on the Internet.

The programming is created by immigrants in their native languages and provides information about health, employment, and adjusting to lives in the Atlanta area. Prometheus traveled to Clarkston, in the metro Atlanta area, to install new equipment and train station volunteers on its operation.



 Prometheus Transitions

After serving as Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper for the past year, Shayne Bargman is taking on a new role as Director of Development & Operations. Shayne brings nearly a decade of experience in communications, non-profit fundraising and development, bookkeeping, and office operations to Prometheus. He previously worked at several local organizations involved in education, the arts, and organic agriculture including the Mill Creek Farm and Spiral Q Puppet Theater. Shayne has a passion for youth education and has volunteered for over ten years as an instructor and tournament judge of high school speech and debate. Shayne has a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania..

After two years as our Policy Director, Sanjay Jolly is leaving us. In September, Sanjay will move to Quito, Ecuador to research and work with community media there. We wish him the best of luck!

In addition to personnel changes, Prometheus Radio Project is emerging from a period of transition as we reflect on our major victories and focus our energy on building stations and building a media movement. We've conferred with LPFMs on how we can best support them, developed a docket of engineering and consulting services for stations in all phases of their life cycle, and tightened our belts to become a leaner, even meaner organization.

Last week, Technical Director Will Floyd met with Twin Cities Community Radio, a coalition of new LPFM stations in Minnesota. The group includes the Dayton's Bluff Community Council, WEQY 104.7 FM in Saint Paul, who is building a new LPFM station with Prometheus this August.


With our sights set on building a national LPFM network and developing resources and trainings to support stations as they grow, we need your continued support now more than ever. We have some exciting work on the horizon this year, including plans to complete at least 9 station builds, launch a new webinar and conference platform to facilitate collaboration between LPFMs, and connect stations to resources and allies that will help them thrive.

We hope you'll join us in helping LPFM stations across the country bring the fire of community radio from dream to reality! And we are counting on your support to help us build this movement.


 Meshing Around in Mulukuku 

Thanks to the support of the Open Technology Institute, Station Support Director Allan Gomez visited Nicaragua from June 15th - July 5th to help establish a local mesh network. The project builds upon the ongoing media and technology work of the Cooperative Maria Luisa Ortiz (CMLO) in Mulukuku, a town of six thousand residents in Nicaragua's Region Autonoma del Atlantico Norte.

Since 2004 CMLO has operated Radio Estereo Mulukuku. Now the most popular radio station in the zone, Radio Estereo Mulukuku broadcasts a socially conscious mix of music, local news and popular education programming about topics ranging from reproductive health and women's legal rights to environmental issues. The local mesh network will facilitate communication and collaboration between CMLO's central location, the radio station and other local allied organizations such as the hospital and school.

Allan's recent trip included an introductory workshop to orient Cooperative members to the basic technology involved in establishing a mesh network and to brainstorm how the mesh network will be put to use to serve CMLO's ongoing work. A subcommittee of cooperative members formed to learn about the technology, participate in the installation and spearhead management of the network. Three nodes and an App server were established during the initial installation, with the expectation to grow the network to ten nodes in the coming weeks.

The opportunity to continue training in mesh development also materialized through connections made with a fellow OTI supported project in Fumaca, Brazil, with the Fumaça Data Springs. In ten days in July, 2015 they will install a wifi mesh network and a GSM cell phone node in the Fumaça village, municipality of Resende - RJ, next to the Nebulosa farm.

Members of CMLO's technology subcommittee are currently traveling to Fumaca, Brazil to learn more about mesh network technology and take part in a more advanced mesh and GSM phone system installation in collaboration with the Brazilian organization from July 24 to August 1, 2015. Committee members will take back mesh networking lessons learned during their Brazilian experience to build upon the groundwork laid during Allan's recent visit.



 Fighting for More Power 

The FCC recently sought some early public comments on a proposal to increase the maximum power for LPFM stations from 100 watts to 250 watts. If the proposal were to be adopted–which probably won’t be soon–the public would have greater listening access to thousands of people-powered LPFM stations in local communities throughout the country. You can read Prometheus’s comments and check out what other members of the public had to say.

There’s still a lot of work to do before 250 watt LPFM becomes a reality, but you can stay informed by visiting the Prometheus website.


 Allied Media Conference 2015

A few weeks ago we took a break from building radio stations to join fellow media activists and producers at the annual Allied Media Conference in Detroit for a whirlwind of learning and collaboration.

In addition to setting up a live radio broadcast for the weekend, we hosted a DIY audio cables workshop. Participants learned about the basics of audio signals, the components of an audio cable, and how to use a soldering iron.

audio cables

 Prometheus in the News


 Get Involved!

We at the Prometheus Radio Project have never been more excited about the work ahead. There are hundreds more LPFM stations to build and we can't do it alone. We rely on our friends and allies, including you, to make our work possible, so please consider volunteering or donating today.

We are currently looking for media makers, radio producers, videographers or photographers in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN to help document our current station building projects during the next few weeks. Get in touch with us here if you're interested!

If you are in the Philadelphia area, join us next week for a presentation of Dreaming Awake (Soñando Despiertas): A short documentary on the history of the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative. We will be joined by Danilo Jarquin, a Mulukuku resident and long time supporter of the cooperative and their radio station, to give us some context and share the impact that the cooperative has had in the region.