Tired of hearing nothing but the corporate news & views on commercial, mass-market radio? Then get your own station!
That’s not as preposterous as it might sound, thanks to a freelance, free-range, free-form collective of mostly young activists banded together as the Prometheus Radio Project. This non-profit group arose in the past decade from the Low Power FM “pirate radio” insurrection, consisting of local progressives who set up unlicensed stations that operate on only about 100 watts of power (yes, a light bulb’s worth). The signals of these renegade broadcasters have a range of up to 10-miles in diameter – enough to cover a town or urban neighborhood. They can create a very localized, democratic, and inexpensive micro-media, providing a way for communities to put their own voices, issues, music, and stories on the dial.
Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?
But there was that outlaw factor, which allowed powerhouse corporate chains to dispatch the authorities to shut down the tiny units. Prometheus, however, battled the giants with a grassroots campaign to legalize and license low-power, non-profit stations. It took 10 years of uphill slogging, but their tenacious, grassroots organizing paid off in 2011, when President Obama signed the Local Community Radio Act.
With rules and staff now in place, thousands of low-power licenses will be put up for grabs by non-profit, community groups this October. But you must act quickly if your group wants one, for the window will only be open for two weeks in a sort of Oklahoma-land-rush-of-the-air. Prometheus is now offering assistance to people interested in democratizing the dial and strengthening their communities with these low-watt, high-impact radio signals.
We’ve got some new adventures coming down the pike, and to start preparing for that, we recommend you visit and subscribe to our Substack website and newsletter. More information to come, but if you want to get a head start, head over there now.