Friday, August 03, 2007

Start Your Own Community Radio Station!


This October, the FCC will open up an extremely rare opportunity for non-profit organizations to apply for full power, noncommercial radio station licenses in the United States, and its territories (places like Guam and Puerto Rico). If your group or favorite local nonprofit organization meets the qualifications, and if a frequency is available, you can start a local, community-owned radio station, and get Democracy Now! playing over the airwaves in your town – along with local radio the likes of which your community has never seen. The FCC doesn't give out licenses like these every day -- this opportunity will not be available for another 15 years. It's the last chance in a generation for community radio in your town – and you have a shot to make it happen.

Sound too good to be true? There are a few hitches. If you live in one of the top 10 largest cities in the country, please don't pursue this opportunity, as there is absolutely nothing available in big cities like Los Angeles and New York. The channels that are available are mostly in smaller cities and rural towns – the 'last frontier' of the broadcast dial. You have to be a registered nonprofit to apply, and your group will have to pay for engineering and legal consultants in the next few months – which will cost you a few thousand dollars at least. If your group is lucky enough to be granted a license from the FCC, you'll be responsible for the costs of equipment, which could run from $20,000 to $200,000.

Even if you don't live in a big city, most communities will only have one or two open channels, so the competition will be stiff – some organizations have been waiting years for their shot at these noncommercial, full-power frequencies. But don't despair—media justice groups around the country are doing everything in their power to make sure that local nonprofits like yours can successfully file applications, and win radio stations. If your group meets the qualifications above, read on to get connected to the Radio for People Coalition, which will help you get your application in tip-top shape!

The time to act is now—today. The application takes time and money to complete, so you must get the ball rolling today in order to meet the October deadline. Don't miss this opportunity to claim your community's slice of the FM dial!

Here's how to find out more about how to get your own community radio station:

Visit http://www.getradio.org on the web to see if there might be a frequency in your zip code.

Read more about the Full Power window at http://radioforpeople.org or at http://prometheusradio.org/full_power

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