Reclaim the airwaves: start a community radio station

Interested in starting a radio station in your community? We want to help.

As early as October 2012, the Federal Communications Commission will start the process of allotting thousands of new community FM radio licenses for the first time in urban areas.

ColorOfChange wants to help you through this process. We can provide:

  • Information on everything you need to know to start a station;
  • Regular updates about what you need to do and when;
  • Trainings and materials;
  • Connections to other interested groups in your area;
  • Ways to connect with existing stations to get answers; and
  • Demystification of technology and policy.

Radio is a relatively inexpensive and highly effective way of reaching and forging connections within our local communities — radio is still the most common point of connection today, with 90% of Americans listening to radio each week. Now, the largest expansion of community radio in US history offers a valuable resource to unite communities, seek solutions, and build popular participation. Local community stations can broadcast independent local news, feature local music and arts, and present compelling programming that is absent from the profit-driven airplay of corporate media.

Starting a new radio station is a big undertaking that requires serious organization and dedication — we know that it's not for everyone, but if you want to get on the air, ColorOfChange wants to help you succeed. Sign up to your right to learn more, and join us in supporting and expanding community radio!


Community Radio Poised for a Big Comeback as Activists Free the

Community Radio Poised for a Big Comeback as Activists Free the Airwaves
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:30 By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report

For several years, Luis Avila produced an acclaimed youth radio show in the Phoenix, Arizona, area that tackled everything from Latino-American culture to immigration reform, teen pregnancy and the fight to ensure undocumented students can receive college scholarships. Avila's show, "El Break," went off the air three years ago after the station that hosted Avila and his friends as guests ran out of money and was sold. After unsuccessfully looking for another host station, Avila and a coalition of immigrant rights groups decided to work toward launching their own community radio station to put "El Break" back on the air and provide more programs to serve their community, but federal regulators have not approved any lower-power FM radio stations - the non-commercial kind used exclusively by nonprofit groups and governments to serve a local area - in more than a ten years. But that's all about to change.

After a decade-long grassroots campaign waged by community radio advocates, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is preparing to make room on the airwaves for hundreds of new low-power stations across the country. Avila said the opportunity comes at a crucial time. His community has suffered while living under the watch of rogue Sheriff Joe Arpaio and dealing with the harsh realities of tough anti-immigrant laws recently passed in Arizona.

"We have seen more and more harassment and intimidation of all Spanish-speaking families, not only of undocumented families, so we saw a need of doing more outreach to communities," Avila told reporters in a recent press conference.

Sheriff Arpaio is currently grappling with the Obama administration after a three-year Department of Justice investigation determined in December that his department engaged in "unconstitutional policing" and unfairly targeted Latinos in the Phoenix area. Avila said many of cases of police harassment are made known by individuals stepping forward to tell their personal stories, and community radio stations provide a perfect forum for people who need to share their experiences and information on personal and civil rights. Community radio can also help immigrant families share information about access to crucial services such as health care, Avila said.