By Cindy and Duke Schempp-Gomez
On March 9th, a group of curious community members got together for the first meeting sponsored by The People’s Press Project, and our partners at the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net). People from all walks of life and background were represented in the room and their diversity was also reflected in their different interests in Low Power FM (LPFM) radio.
The People’s Press Project, the Fargo-Moorhead region’s only media justice non-profit, has been interested in the process of bringing LPFM to the Fargo-Moorhead region for several years. But, it was in November of 2012 when the FCC announced the process was now in place for folks to begin the application process, that we really began to get excited.
The PPP first held a webinar on February 27, to give people a more clear understanding of LPFM, and what it can do for our community. Steven Renderos from MAG-Net, facilitated that webinar, and gave folks the basics they needed to get involved, and important information about the application process. We at PPP decided to hold a second event at the Fargo public library on March 9th to do further local outreach.
Organizations, new immigrants, women, and experts from the industries of radio engineering, public television, were all present. In fact, one of our guests actually helped to start the LPFM station in Urbana–Champaign, a very successful LPFM station in Illinois, which also doubled as a community center, bicycle workshop, and even provided cheaper wireless internet. That station is now the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (a MAG-Net Anchor in the Downstate Illinois Chapter). He was excited to see what an LPFM could do for this community.
All in attendance believed a new radio station could provide more access to information, culture, music, art, faith, and other programming currently not available on the radio dial. All these folks came together to begin envisioning the possibilities of LPFM and how this new form of radio communication can solve local media issues for many communities. For example, a representative of a new immigrant group talked about how LPFM could help disseminate information quickly and free of cost to the listeners in his community. The visions and ideas are really limited only by the imagination of our community.
This was just the first of several outreach meetings that PPP and our Mag-Net partners will hold in the F-M area as we bring the vision for LPFM into focus. But, first we want to get as many people in the community involved. We will be holding several of these initial information meetings, then come together to share with the community the vision that Fargo-Moorhead has for Low Power FM radio.
To get involved in the Fargo-Moorhead area attend the next informational meeting:
Saturday April 6, 1:30-3pm CST
Fargo Public Library in Fargo, ND.
Questions please contact Duke at 701-367-0403 or email [email protected].
If you’re not in the Fargo-Moorhead area, check out these great resources by Prometheus Radio Project:
• A tool to help you define the area of coverage and ideal antenna location for your low power FM station
• Low power availability map – a map that shows the numerical spread of FM channels available for new low power FM stations.
• An article in Wired about the upcoming opportunity to apply for a community radio station