Radio NOLA HIV

For Radio NOLA HIV, who hope to become WHIV-LP, saying the name of the station is a part of the mission. “HIV is, unfortunately, still a highly stigmatized disease. … But by just saying the word, or calling out the letters over and over again, WHIV, or HIV… it becomes de-stigmatized,” says MarkAlain Dery, assistant professor of medicine at Tulane University and medical director of a sliding scale HIV clinic. He cites the enormous stigma surrounding diabetes only 50 years ago, now significantly lessened due to the fact that people loudly and boldly give public name and recognition to the disease.

Dery and his colleagues formed the New Orleans Society for Infectious Disease Awareness (NOSIDA) in 2009 to raise awareness of the silenced HIV epidemic, which has hit New Orleans and neighboring Baton Rouge very hard; the two cities repeatedly rank at numbers 3 and 2, respectively, for new diagnoses. NOSIDA strives not only to erase the stigma and raise awareness surrounding the epidemic, but also to promote knowing one’s HIV status, explaining that one in five carriers of HIV are unaware of their infection, and that these cases account for 50-60% of new infections.

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Thank you so much for your support of our campaign! Thanks to your generosity, we raised over $6,000 which will help our technical and engineering team provide direct support to fledgling community radio stations through materials and resource creation and one-on-one application trouble-shooting. 

Prometheus has been able to provide the kind of support we do because people have believed in our vision of a world in which the media is not a means to limit democratic participation, but a way for communities and movements to express themselves and struggle for justice. We imagine a nationwide community radio infrastructure made up of hundreds of independent, locally-orientated stations, part of a global movement to put media in the hands of the people. With your help over the last month (and for some of you - over the last 15 years!) we are getting closer to that moment. 

For the last 30 days, we’ve been sharing stories about groups we’ve helped build stations with or groups who are going to apply during this next round at the FCC. They are just a small fraction of the vibrant spectrum of communities using radio to further social justice missions and cultural preservation. We hope you’ve been inspired by their work and our partnerships to wield the power of radio! 

While this Indiegogo campaign has ended, the need to support this work is never over. We have a lot of work to do over the next few months, and as stations begin to receive construction permits, we’ll have another stage of exciting work to organize around. Your support will continue to be crucial and highly valued. We’re glad you’re on board.

Thank you for being a part of this transformative time for community radio!

With sincerest thanks and appreciation, 

Julia & The Staff at Prometheus

ps- Still feeling inspired to spread the word and support? Please visit www.prometheusradio.org/donate to keep the flame alive! Thanks!

JJ Tiziou is a longtime friend and supporter of Prometheus. Read his excellent recap of Prometheus’ barnraising with the WCIW (that we profiled here) through the documentarian’s lens.

If you haven’t donated to our campaign yet, now’s the time! Every dollar raised goes to providing direct support to the next wave of community radio stations. You can support a truly diverse media landscape and radio dial. Make it happen! Donate today! Thank you!

"The Voice of the People"

In August 2006, Prometheus collaborated with PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste - Treeplanters and Farmworkers United of the Northwest), for our tenth radio station barnraising to build KPCN-LP Woodburn, OR. Local volunteers from Portland’s KBOO and Indymedia were joined by national and international volunteers from Central and South America, and gathered in the Willamette Valley of Oregon to make a long-standing dream of PCUN’s come true! 

PCUN’s mission is to offer support and fight for the rights of the employees of the Willamette Valley’s many farms - employees who generally work long hours for low wages, with no overtime pay, paid breaks, seniority, job security, or other benefits. Seasonal workers are often housed in squalid labor camps owned and operated by growers or labor contractors, and are often exposed to a variety of pesticides that are used to protect the crops.

For the past twenty years, PCUN had wanted to have a radio station of their own. They started out paying $250 for an hour long program on an AM radio station in Woodburn. PCUN used their radio program to organize demonstrations and mobilize farmworkers and supporters for their various campaigns. However, due to local politics and in breech of PCUN’s contract, PCUN’s program was taken off the air immediately after a listener informed the radio station owner (who was an acquaintance of a local grower) of the contents of PCUN’s program.

Outraged by the lack of the AM station’s adherence to their contract, PCUN filed a law suit against the radio station and won, which allowed them to remain on the air for two more weeks. During those two weeks, PCUN informed their listeners that they’d be moving their radio program to Portland’s own KBOO. PCUN’s program on KBOO’s airwaves was a huge success in Portland, and PCUN found themselves organizing events there.

Although PCUN was glad to move its listeners to action, they found themselves getting stretched too thin to be as effective as they could’ve been in their hometown of Woodburn (which is thirty minutes south of Portland). “We had to rethink the program on KBOO, and we decided we’d have to discontinue it and bring our energy and focus back to Woodburn”, said Ramon Ramirez- President of PCUN. So when they had an opportunity to go for a local LPFM in Woodburn, PCUN focused their efforts on starting a station there. 

But those weren’t the only lessons learned when it came to the value of owning your own media outlet. PCUN had approached the Spanish television giant Univision to place an ad promoting the Day of Immigrants Rights on May 1, 2006. The nationwide call to action asked that demonstrators NOT go to work, to school, or make any purchases on that day as an act of solidarity with the thousands of other demonstrators across the country. PCUN was told that they could buy an ad, but that Univision wanted to censor the content of the ad. PCUN knew that they needed to have a place where they could not only promote but control their message.  

PCUN has since used their radio station, KPCN, as an organizing tool to further their strategizing efforts in winning rights for the farmworkers who feed us all. PCUN, which is an umbrella organization for several other local groups in Woodburn, has involved those groups in the programming of KPCN. Their current programming schedule offers a wide array of shows: there are LGBTQ community discussions, a women’s talk show covering issues around health and well-being as well as domestic abuse, a show geared towards the music and traditions of Oaxaca, and an interview-styled show that seeks to inspire listeners with stories from the human rights movement. 

Prometheus was honored to work closely with PCUN and KPCN as they fulfilled their mission to be the Voice of The People through the power of radio. 

What could your community do with its own radio station? 

For fifteen years, Prometheus has been helping to expand the field of community radio - through our advocacy and policy work, through demystifying the bureaucratic process of applying for a license, and through building community radio stations. With your support today, we can do even more during the next wave of licensing. 

Please show your support today and donate!  Thank you!

What can community sound like? 

The Mutual Musicians Foundation is where live jazz has had a home in Kansas City for over nine decades. With the “longest running jam session in the world” happening inside and many other nods to early 20th century Jazz culture, this organization is striving to keep their culture and history alive.  

Kansas City is home to a big part of jazz history. According to Anita Dixon—who is spearheading the Mutual Musicians Foundation’s radio project—Kansas City is credited with birthing the swing era and the ensuing three decades of the original art and music. Jazz is a huge part of the city’s history and yet, they still do not have a radio station to tell that story and preserve it.

Kansas City, known for Count Basie and swing music… does NOT have a station that is dedicated to the music. It is outlandish! It’s ridiculous…to turn on a radio when [you] come to Kansas City and not hear the music that you came to hear, cause it’s just not there.” 

This is why there is a strong need for a community radio station in the city, not only just for the preservation of this rich culture and history, but for the opportunity to let it flourish.

The Mutual Musicians Foundation has been in operation for 93 years, and has been advocating for the city’s jazz heritage through events and public education. Innovative and effective, they held a ‘Pianothon’ fundraising event where they invited pianists from all over the nation to come to Kansas City and perform. It raised not only the profile of the organization, but $5,000 in contributions. Through these kind of events they’ve been able to expand their programmatic work, which in turn has benefited their community. One of their proudest impacts in the community has been supplying free music lessons to those who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise.

The Mutual Musician’s Foundation is also part of a grassroots network of organizations who are bringing mesh broadband networks to their community as well. They see the need for all aspects of the community to have access to information, dialogue and entertainment.  

The community that Mutual Musicians Foundations serves is comprised of many different cultures and backgrounds, even within the small radius that they plan on broadcasting in. The planned coverage area includes Vietnamese, African-American, Somalian, Laotian, and Hispanic communities, and the Foundation plans to provide programming as diverse as these neighborhoods. Once they are on the air, there are hopes for a variety of world music programs, educational talk shows for everyone, and definitely a program dedicated to local music from Kansas City.

Prometheus has been helping the Mutual Musician’s Foundation prepare to apply for a low power FM license so they can fill the cultural gap in Kansas City’s media landscape. What could your community do with its own radio station? 

Supporting Prometheus allows us to provide crucial technical and engineering expertise to groups who are taking advantage of the largest expansion of community radio in decades. Your donation today helps us get more groups through the application process. 

Please donate today! Thank you!

Video of the BMW3 performing live at the Mutual Musician’s Foundation

"We Are The Boombox"

The communities of New York’s Greene and Columbia counties are nestled in the Upper Hudson River Valley and are the home-base for one of the most innovative community radio stations in the country. WGXC 90.7 FM works to “make radio that is a transformative platform for information, experimentation and public engagement” and Prometheus was honored to participate in the barnraising for their station.

In September 2010, Prometheus joined forces with radio activists from around the country to participate and share our know-how - from engineers and carpenters to community organizers and musicians and to lawyers and policy advocates. We had over 35 workshops on everything from radio theater to FCC compliance. Taking a tip from the station’s motto (“Hands On Radio”), everyone learned new skills and put them into action—from building audio cables to recording station IDs to making coleslaw for 200 volunteers. The event culminated in a fantastic parade through the streets of Hudson and a balloon-lifted transmission experiment.

Once WGXC was on the air, their vision fully bloomed. Their programming schedule is a mix of content from other outlets like Al Jazeera, Free Speech Radio, and “Democracy Now!” as well as local reporters and outlets. Musically, it runs the gamut from experimental to jazz to oldies, and also features teen programming, radio theater  and comedy. The schedule has something for everyone, with thoughtful consideration given to coverage of local events, both big and small. In all areas - WGXC strives to push against the boundaries of radio and develop an interesting and creatively exciting place for their community to express themselves.

It helps that WGXC is led by a strong community group with a powerful vision. Founded by arts organization The Wave Farm (formerly Free 103.9), WGXC promised to bridge the many diverse communities in Hudson and Greene Counties. With a governing Radio Council with representatives from many of those communities, as well as months of local outreach to create a vision for the new station, WGXC has been a wild success. 

They are currently in the middle of their own fundraising efforts, and we encourage you to check out their site and programming!

Prometheus is going to help build the next wave of community radio stations, but we need your help to do it. Will you donate $25 today to help us build the future of community radio? Thank you! 

"A Little Blue Nugget"

This October, Asheville FM will launch a bid for a Low Power FM (LPFM) license to bring their particular brand of community radio to the terrestrial airwaves. 

In 2009, Kim Roney and Greg Lyon, along with about 40 volunteers would meet at Laurey’s Catering, in downtown Asheville, NC to talk about radio and broadcasting. These meetings became regular and Friends of Community Radio – as they had come to call themselves – realized they had the talent, the drive, and the equipment to start their own station.

They were able conceptualize an internet radio station first as it was the most accessible option at the time. Once their plans were solid, they rented a studio and were able to get it outfitted with the help of friends and volunteers.

They currently have over 40 different programs in rotation on their schedule, serving a wide swath of musical tastes and informational needs. From an old time country program airing long lost vinyl gems, to a show focused on literary performance and review, to film critique, gardening tips, talk shows in English and Spanish, local news and more - Asheville FM seeks to:

"…add to and reflect the rich stew of arts, culture and community involvement that is Asheville. We want to hear music, news, and the unusual all produced right here in our neck of the woods. We want to hear sounds from around the world, discerned and distilled just for us by our neighbors. We want to help make connections between diverse groups and support the local economy of ideas. We believe people from all parts of our community should have a chance to let their voice be heard."

Four years from its humble beginnings and Asheville FM’s internet outpost is successful. But they’re not done yet. With October’s LPFM filing window right around the corner, Asheville FM is preparing to launch a terrestrial signal to reach even more people. 

The Asheviille community is made up of around 80,000 people in the western half of North Carolina. In a historically recognized “red state”, Asheville is a “little ‘blue’ nugget.” 

“There is not a lot of that (perspective) being heard,” Roney says while Lyon adds in, “The stuff we’re doing is just not done on any other outlet.” 

Not everyone in town has internet access though, and there is a desire to reach incarcerated members of the community as well. 

With a terrestrial signal, more of Asheville’s population will be able to listen in and participate. 

Asheville FM has a lot of community support to get its signal up and onto the airwaves. Prometheus wishes them the best of luck in their pursuit of a LPFM license! 

What would your community do with its own radio station? Supporting Prometheus allows us to provide more resources to groups all over the country and help them get their share of the air. 

Please donate today and support the next wave of community radio stations! Thank you!

One Spoke on the Wheel

In November of 2005, Prometheus partnered with The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center to hold a barnraising for WRFU 104.5. Housed inside the town’s large post office, the Independent Media Center plays host to many different organizations, like spokes on a wheel, all of them connecting different aspects of the community into one space. Whether it is their Books to Prisoners program, bike works space, Makerspace, community library, or the public show area - the UC-IMC has space for all, and that includes the “Come One, Come All” styled community radio station WRFU. 

Their mission: “WRFU is a progressive radio station collective committed to social justice, focusing on public affairs issues and the arts. WRFU airs opinions and debates in an open and diverse forum that focuses on educating and empowering the public. WRFU provides an accessible venue for an eclectic mixture of arts programming.

With support and donations from the community, WRFU was able to boost their signal by installing a new tower in 2012. Their signal now reaches further and brought new interest and involvement from even more people outside of Urbana. Programming on the station ranges from music showcases to environmental and political talk shows to a show designed for incarcerated listeners.

What could your community do with its own radio station? Supporting Prometheus now allows us to continue to help new stations get on the air and flourish. Please donate today and support the next wave of community radio stations! Thank you!

About the video: Six years of planning culminated in an intense weekend where volunteers from all over the country teamed with community members in a weekend of workshops and construction to build and launch the radio station. Thanks for JJ Tiziou for this video animation of photos from the original barnraising.