July 13, 2013

Is this the year's best kept secret for nonprofit and government organizations?

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now has a new podcast out on big changes in community radio. She calls them the year's best kept secret.

FCC Launches Nationwide Application Process for Community Radio: Prometheus Radio Project Offers Support for Groups to Get on Air

The following is a news release from the Prometheus Project.

In June, the Federal Communications Commission launched the first application process for small community radio stations in more than a decade. Nonprofit groups, schools, and Indian Tribes can apply for these low power FM (LPFM) stations online at the FCC website, and applications are due during a two-week window October 15-29, 2013.

The news is long-awaited by the Prometheus Radio Project and its supporters, who led the grassroots coalition that pushed Congress to pass the Local Community Radio Act of 2010. The law expanded community radio by directing the FCC to make more stations available nationwide, reversing an earlier law that kept stations out of urban areas.

“For the first time, low power radio is possible in cities like Miami, Houston, and Philadelphia, where these stations can reach hundreds of thousands of local listeners,” said Brandy Doyle, Policy Director for the Prometheus Radio Project. "Community radio can be a powerful new tool for nonprofit groups who want to serve their communities."

The 800+ low power stations already on the air are run by nonprofits, colleges, churches, and emergency responders. Many, such as the Oregon farmworker station KPCN, offer local programming in languages other than English, often hard to find on the radio dial. KPCN, also known as Radio Movimiento, plays Spanish-language news and information, organizes voter registration drives, and plays traditional and contemporary music.

Low power stations are an accessible outlet for nonprofit organizations to engage their communities, costing as little as $15,000 to launch. Over 90% of Americans listen to radio at least once a week.

With just four months until the FCC deadline, those who want to apply for a station should start preparing now. Sign up for free updates and support from Prometheus, including access to application guides, online trainings, and advice on getting started. Find out if there is an open frequency on your radio dial with the Prometheus zip code check tool. Join the online community at Radio Spark to connect with radio engineers and other applicants nationwide.

Contact: Julia Wierski, Development & Communications Director at Prometheus Radio Project, jwierski [at] prometheusradio.org, 215.727.9620 x 545