On the Tuesday, June 25th A Public Affair, Molly Stentz was joined by Brandy Doyle of the Prometheus Radio Project and John Anderson, Assistant Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Brooklyn College and founder of DIYmedia.net, to talk about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity coming this October. For the first time in a decade, the FCC is opening up 1,000 new licenses for low-power radio stations.
A low-power radio station transmits across a small, local radius and can be a powerful tool of community groups and local voices. The opening up of airwaves has only occurred because of pressure from groups such Prometheus Radio Project, who seek a better representation of the population. According to Free Press, although women are more than half of the U.S. population, they hold fewer than 7% of licenses. Similarly, people of color make up over 36% of the U.S. population and hold just over 7% of licenses. Additionally, as Doyle pointed out, low-power stations run on the power of a lightbulb and can stay on the air even after natural disasters. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, low-power stations were able to direct people to safety.
Both guests estimated the costs, explained the process of applying for, and elaborated on the other benefits of a low-power station. They also described how the FCC chooses one application over another.
Although some claim radio is an outdated medium, 3/4 of Americans still listen to the radio daily and it is one of the most trusted sources of news.
Madison already has two low power radio stations: WIDE 99.1 and WIXL 97.1. There will be up to 10 more low-power licenses possibly available in the Madison this fall. You can search for open license opportunities by area here.
Listen to the entire show to learn more: