January 10, 2012

OAKLAND–  On Monday, hundreds gathered in Washington D.C. and online to hear a panel of grassroots leaders across the country discuss the challenges and successes of building community radio in communities of color.  The passage of the Local Community Radio Act, 2012 is the largest expansion community radio in U.S. History.  Yet, due to unfair restrictions of community radio and commercial media consolidation – voices of color have even less access to the airwaves today than in the past. Betty Yu, National Organizer for the Center for Media Justice and Joe Torres, CMJ Board Member, both gave opening comments.

“Historically and even today, radio is still a vital vehicle for our social justice movements, particularly in low-income, immigrant and communities of color,” said Betty Yu.  “It’s still an extremely accessible medium for communities in the U.S. and abroad, it’s one of the most culturally and politically relevant outlets for many of us.”

Speakers included Kai Aiyetoro, Prometheus Radio Project;  John Freeman, KOCZ in Opelousas, LA; Albert Knighten, Dunbar Community Radio, Dunbar, FL;  Jabari Moketsi, Gullah Sentinel, Beaufort, SC; Danielle Mkali, Main Street Project, Minneapolis, MN; and Steven Renderos, Main Street Project, Minneapolis, MN

The lively panel discussion was a huge success; speakers responded to tons of viewer-tweeted questions on community radio which ranged from how people can raise funding for radio stations to how to run a radio station once you have one.

“We want people to become comfortable with the technology and skills enough to become creative and innovative with media making,” Danielle Mkali explained. “We envision spaces where folks are running a radio station, being trained in film making and audio production, checking out equipment, learning mixed media, printmaking, film discussions and beyond whatever the neighborhood hub for media may grow into.”

To watch a video of the panel, please go to the New America Foundation website (  For further information on the Local Community Radio Act and the access challenges facing people and communities of color please visit the Media Action Grassroots Network website (


Founded in 2002, the Center for Media Justice is a dynamic progressive communications strategy and media policy tank for grassroots organizations serving communities of color and America’s poor.


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