Letter to the Editor:
When congress passed the Local Community Radio Act, it brought about one of the biggest opportunities in U.S. history for nonprofits and community organizations to affordably access the air waves. In the capitol city, Providence Community Radio will be launching shortly on 101.1 FM.
Nonprofits have the chance to apply for a non-commercial FM radio license, or LPFM. A LPFM station could serve as a local broadcast studio, community center or multimedia training site. This would be a powerful tool for any organization as 90 percent of Americans currently say they listen to the radio at least once a week. If burdensome FCC regulations are not for you, there is also the internet only option. Here is how the Hunterdon (Flemington, NJ) Chamber of Commerce has their internet radio station set-up (http://hunterdonchamberradio.com) in a business – talk – community format.
Whether over the air on via the internet, community radio stations serve to amplify the voice of the people, as they seek to address important issues in the community that can be largely ignored by other media outlets. It can also as serve as a tool for promoting local arts & culture, local business and civic involvement. There is also the opportunity to broadcast and archive important town council, financial and school committee meeting for those who are unable or unavailable to attend, which can help lead to an informed and engaged community and a more politically active town. LPFM law allows for 100 watt station to broadcast to a town or neighborhood in a 5 to 10 mile radius. In the past, stations have helped quasi-rurally located farmers stay connected and victims of hurricane Katrina find food and shelter.
Stations cost as little as a few thousand dollars to build and a few hundred to operate each year. A community radio station that is focused on local issues and local voices can breathe new life into town institutions, give youth a place to learn new media production and public speaking and spotlight the local music and arts & culture scene.
Thousands of new community and internet radio stations are on the horizon from coast to coast, why not in North Kingstown?
Tony Jones is a Wickford resident. He serves on the North Kingstown Arts Council and is the head of Tony Jones Omnimedia. Tony is also the founder and popular on-air host of RI Free Radio, which can be found by www.rifreeradio.org.