Why is people-powered radio important?
Broadcasters used to have to act in the public interest and congress limited the number of stations one company could own. The media business has a sacred responsibility in a democracy but by 1996, broadcasters were basically allowed to own as many stations as they wanted to. Well, people came to understand this was not good. At one point, the NRA AND the National Organization of Women were BOTH screaming at the FCC. Millions of YOU all said that was NOT what you wanted. Yet, eventually you had companies like Clear Channel, with over 1200 stations blacklisting artists simply because of their political beliefs.
With newspapers slashing staffs lately, it is more important than ever that radio shifts back to serving its local communities. Community media is powerful. Creative communities don’t want oatmeal… people want diversity and a vibrant civic culture… so, instead of homogeny, what if we had INDEPENDENT radio that ADDED to an area’s quality of place?
We’ll focus on local voices and music you can’t hear anywhere else. We’re the biggest area in the country without community radio – but thanks to our new license, that’s all going to change!
The attractiveness of a community has been traced to the notion of “quality of place.”
Sociologists have defined this idea by the following concept:
Quality of Place = Diversity + Civic Culture + Environment + Entrepreneurship
BCR seeks to enhance “Quality of Place” in the Treasure Valley by engendering an inclusive community, open and supportive of diversity.
Community Radio is Important:
Strengthens the “cultural health” of a region
Empowers citizens by providing a forum for a diversity of viewpoints and ideas
Promotes awareness of community-based organizations and services
Supports local artists, musicians, and cultural activities
Offers an effective instrument for community development
Compliments state and local educational efforts
To learn more about the relevance of these factors download — Competing in the Age of Talent: Quality of Place and the New Economy by Dr. Richard Florida (pdf 251kb)
Community Radio’s Roots:
A History of KPFA, Berkeley: 45 Years of Community Radio
- 1949 Pacifica first goes on the air April 15 as KPFA 94.1 fm in Berkeley CA.
- 1950 Opponents to the Korean War are among the many minority viewpoints given freedom of speech on Pacifica during the McCarthy era.
- 1955 Poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti bring the Beat Generation to the airwaves. The FCC questions Pacifica’s broadcast of some of their works as “vulgar, obscene and in bad taste.”
- 1962 The FCC withholds the license renewals of KPFA, KPFB, and KPFK pending its investigation into “communist affiliations.” Pacifica was never ultimately cited in any of these or subsequent investigations.
- 1970 KPFT in Houston goes on the air and is bombed off twice during its first year by Ku Klux Klan attacks on its transmitter tower. Federal agents ultimately arrest a Klansman and charge him with plotting to blow up KPFA and KPFK, as well as the actual KPFT bombing.
- 1973 Pacifica provides gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings.
- 1984 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Pacifica’s favor that non-commercial broadcasters have a constitutional right to editorialize.
- 1987 Pacifica’s coverage of the Iran-Contra affair is carried by 33 stations and wins two national journalism awards.
- 1993 Pacifica wins its third Court of Appeals ruling in six years, overturning the FCC restrictions on “indecent” programming as unconstitutional restrictions of the First Amendment rights of the radio audience.