Tuesday, 8 October 2013 | Molly Stentz
Free Speech Radio News, WORT’s daily source for news from around the world, has gone off the air.
WORT aired FSRN at 6pm on weekday evenings for many years. We are incredibly saddened to lose this source of high-quality content. Quite simply, there is nothing else like it on the airwaves. I regularly heard from listeners that they enjoyed the tapestry of voices they heard from around the world via FSRN.
FSRN relied on a small but dedicated and talented staff and a network of freelance reporters on the ground in dozens of countries. Many put themselves at risk reporting from conflict zones, most recently in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their daily production was done almost entirely over the internet and was one of the most innovative models of any news outlet today. They told stories from the ground up, from people who live, day in and day out, in the communities that we often only hear about in 30-second headlines. They did so with a meager budget and constant financial instability.
They were started by a group of striking reporters battling the Pacifica Network, and so too have they ended fighting the Pacifica Network. Last week, the Free Speech Radio News Board of Directors announced that Pacifica owes them nearly $200,000 and they can no longer afford to pay their staff. This has come after a rocky few years of emergency fundraisers, listener appeals, house parties and grant attempts, as the entire staff and board struggled to raise money to replace Pacifica’s unpaid fees with other income sources. They were successful at rallying emergency funds to stave off their decline, but were ultimately unable to find another sponsor large enough to replace Pacifica.
Their website and archives will remain for now. You can reach their Board and remaining staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your feedback is welcome! Please drop me a line with your thoughts anytime at email@example.com.