Imagine UU radio stations in every community across the United States! To move forward the FCC needs to know people care about this, otherwise they’ll let existing radio stations gobble up the transmitter space to amplify their existing signals. They gave us a month to feedback – we need to act right now.
Please click here to tell the FCC you care about community radio (which could include UU Radio). No commitment, just express that you value community radio. I did, it took 30 seconds. Thank you. Want to know more about LPFM and the FCC? Scroll to end of this post for video. ~ Peter
Why every UU Community needs a LPFM Radio Permit
The following is a guest post by Mary Francis, a board member of the UUs and Allies Nationwide Community Radio Network and former NPR Commentator. Updated August 11, 2011
Thanks to the hard work of social justice groups, churches, and pro-democracy activists nationwide, there will soon be an opportunity for as many as 2000 or 3000 new low power community radio stations. This is a chance to change the media landscape in this country, and it’s within our reach. Non-commercial, educational (NCE) frequencies are granted to American citizens by the federal government as a public trust at no cost. Unfortunately, 80% of the NCE stations are currently owned by the right-wing, playing only syndicated evangelism rather than local programming addressing local issues. They learned two decades ago that they could capture the airwaves and talk to the world. But now, there is an opportunity to capture 2 – 3,000 soon-to-be-released frequencies and take back localism and diversity. The expansion of low power radio will free up a HUGE amount of low power broadcast spectrum from corporate commercial interests and give it to non-profits, creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The full power broadcast spectrum is GONE, but we can have significant impact by utilizing the low power (LPFM) frequencies in our communities across the nation.
We merely have to reach out and take this delightful gift by encouraging UU congregations and other friendly non-profits to file as many applications with the FCC as possible – in the hundreds, if not thousands. A new group, UUs and Allies: A Nationwide Community Radio Network, intends to see that we do just that.
The beauty of this plan is the fact low power stations are relatively inexpensive to operate, making them more accessible for non-profit organizations than other radio stations. And there are several organizations that are willing to help you build and get on the air. A large amount of progressive programming is available and you can acquire a broadcast tower and studio equipment and get on air for a fraction of the cost of full power ––typically $10-25,000 to be fully up and running. By partnering with other community-minded organizations, you can share the costs, tasks, and benefits. At the same time, you will give the progressive community a rational voice and a community presence using LPFM Community Radio. We can become Pacifica Affiliates and air International programs that Pacifica distributes such as: Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, WINGS, Sprouts, Youth Radio, and others.
This project is designed to maximize our Unitarian Universalist influence nationwide, bring UU congregations in closer communion and enhance the Common Good. In order to accomplish these goals, congregations first need to be in relationship with one another, as well as with the larger UU world. A National UU Community Radio Network will help us do just that– be a shared resource, which provides a covenant of understanding between our congregations, while we unite local communities and communicate the peaceful message of our Seven Principles to the rest of the world.
Radio is Democracy In Action
UUs have consistently used and valued democratic practices and process. It’s our Fifth Principle. Engaging in multi-congregational projects that enhance the democratic process, such as broadcasting to local communities, will make Unitarian Universalism more focused, more confident and generate a stronger and more vibrant association. A UU Nationwide Community Radio Network can replace our insularity of “preaching to the choir” with a mechanism for cooperative engagement that reaches out into the larger community and can make our missions and goals a reality far beyond our church walls. The radio audience is increasing: radio now reaches more than 235 million listeners a week, versus 232 million last year, according to a study by Arbitron.
Thanks to the recent passage of the Local Community Radio Act, we have an unprecedented opportunity. Several organizations and radio engineers are willing to help any UU congregation apply for a radio frequency and even help you build and get On Air. A group called Prometheus supports and advocates for low power radio stations, and Common Frequency is dedicated to furthering the voice of those who believe in the Common Good and civil discourse. Radio For People and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) are groups which also provide webinars, how-to manuals and policy guidance to strengthen the Community Radio movement.
Join us. Investigate this wonderful opportunity and explore the groups below and their websites.
The fundamentalists have not only learned the power of controlling the airwaves, they also realize that saying anything over and over again will cause a certain number of listeners to believe it, whether true or not. Now, we have been handed this chance to take back some of the radio spectrum. A community of wonderful advocates is offering to stand with us in bringing civil discourse to the airwaves and advance issues of social justice and peace.
UUs and Allies: A Nationwide Community Radio Network
- UU Mary Francis OK (has 2 CPs from 2007 window + possibly another to be awarded)
- UU Rev. Chuck Freeman TX (Host of ‘Soul Talk’ radio & activist minister Live Oak Unitarian Universalist)
- Ally Sue Wilson CA (Emmy Award winning Writer/Producer of Documentaries -see “Broadcast Blues”)
- Ally – Matt Joplin OK (Founder of Food for Thought-food and learning site for the homeless)
- Ally Todd Urick CA (Common Frequency Radio Engineer and author of a definitive study on LPFM)
- UU Tom Killorin WA (Board Member of KSER & also Eliot Institute, a UUA camp)
- UU David Barbour NM (has 2 full-power radio stations in NM)
- UU Teresa Allen TX (Member of Pacifica Board and KPFT board in Houston)
- Ally Al Davis NY (Radio Engineer at WGXC community radio, Hudson, NY & WXPI in PA)
- UU Kindra Muntz FL (Activist for Election Reform & author of successful 2011 AIW re: Citizens United)