Tag Archives: Community Radio

“How one tiny Ontario station keeps listeners tuning in”

(Source: TVO.org)

At Amherst Island’s CJAI 92.1 FM, volunteers host shows, work the mixing board, and woo advertisers — it’s just one of many small local radio stations across the province trying to do more with less

AMHERST ISLAND — Radio host Brian Little takes a quick break from playing hit songs from 1975 on his weekly Friday Morning Show to throw to Keith Miller and the CJAI traffic chopper.

“Thanks, Brian!” Miller yells over the sound of swooshing blades. “Your traffic update for Amherst Island: There are four cars in the ferry lineup. A few cars stopped at Concession Road 2 taking pictures of the snowy owls. This concludes your traffic update!”

Miller, an 78-year-old former dairy farmer, gives Little a satisfied grin as he pulls away from the microphone and puts down an oscillating fan with “CJAI Chopper” written on it in black Sharpie. It’s clearly one of Miller’s favourite gags.

CJAI 92.1 FM, a community radio station on Amherst Island, about 30 kilometres west of Kingston, in Lake Ontario, was created in 2006 by a group of residents — including veteran broadcaster Peter Trueman, who had retired to the island — to promote local content and community events. It now reaches roughly 10,000 listeners from Picton to the western edge of Kingston and airs more than 40 hours a week of live shows: Jazz Jim’s Vault (jazz classics and history), Saturday Night Barn Burner (lesser-known artists with a focus on rock), Sally’s Books (readings from selected books), and Birding (birding), to name just a few.

Like most of Ontario’s 54 campus and community radio stations, it relies on a team of dedicated volunteers to keep it running and is fighting to survive in a rapidly changing media landscape. And CJAI’s fight for survival has only gotten tougher since it learned that it may lose Dayle Gowan’s milk house — the building that’s been its home since the station’s inception.

“When they first started, they basically had no money, and this old milk house just had some junk, so I said, ‘Do you want to use it?’” says Gowan.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

Listen to CJAI live via TuneIn Radio:

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Radio Survivor podcast highlights “The FCC’s Effort To Decimate Community Media”

Photo by Michael MaasenMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares the Radio Survivor’s Podcast #166: The FCC’s Effort To Decimate Community Media:

The FCC has proposed to de-fund community media through an arcane rule that determines how contributions from cable companies to public-access, educational and government (PEG) stations are counted. Because it’s arcane, the effort is flying under the radar. But we have two community media advocates to help explain what’s at stake.

Martin Jones is the CEO of MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, Oregon, just one of hundreds of PEG stations that would be affected. Sabrina Roach serves on the board for the Alliance for Community Media Foundation, the charitable arm of the group that represents and organizes PEG stations across the U.S. They tell us how proposed changes to the “franchise fee” structure would deprive PEG stations, as well as internet access at libraries and schools, from direct funding. If passed, this would decimate both community media and digital equity in most communities that have it. They also explain what steps we can take to oppose this change.

Listen to the full podcast via the embedded player below, or listen via the Radio Survivor website:

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RootIO and a new community radio initiative in Uganda


(Source: Global Voices via Mike Hansgen)

How RootIO Broadcasts Radio in Uganda Using a Bucket

The open-source toolkit allows users to broadcast using just a smartphone and a transmitter

Radio is still and continues to be a powerful medium across most of the African continent. Not only is radio used to share community information but it is cheap and very accessible. In Uganda, a mixing of radio’s power with new mobile and internet technologies has created a cheap and powerful open-source toolkit that allows communities to create their own micro-radio stations. All one needs is an inexpensive smartphone and a transmitter and a community that will share, promote and collaborate on dynamic content.

[…]They have no studio and all the radio shows are done using the host’s smartphone.

How does this work? Users can purchase most of the materials at local markets. A small transmitter is built into a waterproof bucket with a fan, a charge-controller and a smartphone, which is connected to an antenna and a solar panel.

The radio stations are really small and can serve a village or a couple of villages reaching to 10,000 listeners. The content produced by the radio hosts lives in the cloud so stations are able to share content with other stations.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Global Voices.

Note that we first published a post about RootIO five years ago. Very happy to see it’s now in use!

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The importance of community radio in Guatemala

(Source: Aljazeera via Mike Hansgen)

Despite the legal challenges, Indigenous communities use radio to ‘keep their language and culture alive’.

Sumpango, Guatemala – Sitting in a courtyard, wearing an indigenous huipil dress, Amanda Chiquito glows as she talks about the challenges and successes of working with the community radio station in Sumpango Sacatepequez, Guatemala.

“There is no media that represents our community,” the 25-year-old says.

“There wasn’t a media outlet that could inform us and keep our culture and language alive,” she tells Al Jazeera.

Chiquito is a reporter and radio host at Ixchel Radio, the only community station in Sumpango Sacatepequez, a small town 42km from Guatemala’s capital.

More than 95 percent of the town’s 50,000 inhabitants are indigenous, living in remote areas, where access to information and technology is limited.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Aljazeera.

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NY Times on the rise of low power community radio

When listening to marginal FM signals, the AR1780 can be set to mono mode instead of default stereo mode.

(Source: NY Times via Mike Hansgen)

As Low-Power Local Radio Rises, Tiny Voices Become a Collective Shout

SEATTLE — A knowledge of geography is essential if you are running a tiny, 100-watt radio station. Hills are bad, for example, as are tall buildings. Salt water, though, which lies at this city’s doorstep, can boost a radio signal for miles, like a skipped rock.

For a low-power FM radio station, anything measurable in miles is good.

But on a recent Thursday night, one station, KBFG, was struggling to even get on the air. The station’s signal, audible since November in an area measurable in square blocks, had flatlined. The Ballard High School basketball team was about to take the court and the live play-by-play was in doubt.

“We’re bootstrapping it,” said Eric Muhs, a physics and astronomy teacher. Headphones were slung around his neck, and a mop of unruly gray hair came further undone as he leaned into his laptop trying to fix a software glitch. But Mr. Muhs, 60, one of KBFG’s founders, admitted that the stakes for failure were relatively low. “Almost nobody knows that we exist,” he said.

Low-power nonprofit FM stations are the still, small voices of media. They whisper out from basements and attics, and from miniscule studios and on-the-fly live broadcasts like KBFG’s. They have traditionally been rural and often run by churches; many date to the early 2000s, when the first surge of federal licenses were issued.

But in the last year, a diverse new wave of stations has arrived in urban America, cranking up in cities from Miami to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and especially here in the Northwest, where six community stations began to broadcast in Seattle.[…]

Continue reading at the New York Times.

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