by Charlene Strawbery
April 3, 2013
Even though African Americans account for 13% of the population, did you know we only account for 7% of all radio licenses? Well, that number is about to change. Beginning October 2013, nonprofits, labor unions, schools, churches and community groups have the monumental opportunity to apply for free radio licenses through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to build and operate FM community radio stations. On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed into law, The Local Community Radio Act of 2010. This law authorizes the FCC to license local low-power broadcasting in the FM broadcast band (LPFM). In addition, the law grants equal protection to community radio stations in regards to translator and booster stations.
For the first time ever, nonprofits and community organizations are able to apply for free FCC radio licenses in medium and large markets like Houston, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. For years, organizations have been able to use community radio to advocate for social justice issues within their community ranging from stopping crime to enhancing their educational systems.
Why community radio? Here’s why:
It is transformative for our communities.It is affordable and accessible.It allows us to build a strong, multimedia presence within the community.It is a way to amplify local voices to share news, open dialogue about community issues, and introduce local talent.It allows us to control the whole media package locally.