In some ways, media is like food. Food turns into your body, but books, songs, tweets turn into your mind. If you look at the kinds of media Americans consume now, they bear quite a resemblance to products that come from big ag: industrial, barely nutritious, certainly not fostering any connection to people or place.
By some measures, radio is the most consolidated form of modern media, with the bulk of stations being owned by only five giant behemoths, pouring a diet of thin Campbell’s Soup into the massive distribution system that returns ad revenue.
Radio hasn’t always been like this – as recently as the 1980s, locally-owned and operated radio stations were bona fide community hubs, supporting local music and often playing a part in events and politics.
It’s still alive in pockets of the country, where you can still hear diverse, vibrant stations, non-commercial and connected to colleges or public access, as rich and fascinating as a garden: news coverage of local politics, volunteer DJs spinning songs by new bands, talk shows hosted by ethnic groups without other platforms, even kids doing their own shows.
This is community radio.
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