12 Creative Ways to Celebrate National Radio Day

BPT_NRD_Square_Graphic_V2-01-1“Radio is the most intimate and socially personal medium in the world.” – Harry von Zell.

National Radio Day is August 20, 2015—a day for communities across the country to celebrate radio. As part of my Doer work for Brown Paper Tickets, I’m organizing the first annual coast-to-coast celebration in partnership with non-commercial radio stations across the U.S.

In 2013, I organized my first National Radio Day event with a regional cohort of low-power FM soon-to-be applicants at Jack Straw, an audio nonprofit in Seattle. The group relayed hopes and dreams for how their proposed radio stations would serve their communities. Take a look at my first National Radio Day event

I’d been searching for ways to support relationship building among the many forms of community and public radio with similar missions. A common project on National Radio Day seemed like a good fit. Staff from roughly 30 stations RSVP’d for a conference call in July, so I knew I was on to something. Several ideas bubbled to the top, and it was suggested that we promote all of them so that folks can choose the ones that work best for them.

Together, let’s fuel some radio appreciation.

There are several ways for listeners, indie producers and stations to get involved with National Radio Day. Listen to shows. Volunteer and donate. Send sonic love notes to radio over airwaves.

Here are 12 creative ideas:

Listeners

  1. Talk radio on social media and encourage others to do the same. Use hashtag: #NationalRadioDay
  2. Record and submit a Sonic ID to National Radio Day. A Sonic ID is like an audio postcard or photograph. It can be a poem, an anecdote or joke, a slice of overheard conversation–a vignette. Jay Allison of Atlantic Public Media describes them as, “sudden narratives or images.” Read about the creation of Sonic IDs and listen to examples.
  3. Volunteer time or make a monetary donation to your favorite public station.
  4. Join a National Radio Day celebration in your city or town. If you can’t find one, host your own and invite local stations to take part. In Seattle, our seven new neighborhood radio stations will broadcast live online from the central branch of The Seattle Public Library. We’ll also light up an 8-foot-tall tower.

Independent Producers

  1. Share quotes, ask questions, facilitate discussion using  #NationalRadioDay on social media.
  2. Don’t forget—submit your Sonic ID to National Radio Day and on the day, listen for your local station to play it.

Stations

  1. Ask thought-provoking questions to facilitate discussion among your listeners and social media followers.
  2. Solicit Sonic IDs from listeners, youth media organizations and indie producers. Offer a prize you already have on hand, like tickets or a mug. Play all the pieces that are a good fit for your station, post them to social media and make a Sonic ID map of your town.
  3. Partner with a few nonprofits and host a radio production workshop at your local public library.
  4. Promo share. If you’re a station, make one-minute-or-less promo spots with a standard hello, mission statement or short description and thank you. Stations will submit them to the national pool and play ones from other stations.
  5. Participate in our Radio Relay. We’ll start out with Station A on the West Coast. Station A calls Station B and they chat live on air for 15 minutes about what’s going on in their communities. Then Station B calls Station C and repeats the live broadcast 15-minute call. Station C calls Station D and it hopscotches around the country.
  6. Organize a local radio celebration and invite press. Mix and match the following components:-Host a Sonic ID listening party
    -Bring cake. Make a large sheet cake that says “Happy National Radio Day” and hand out free pieces of cake in a public place.
    -Gather vox pop. Gather vox pop in a neighborhood spot with a lot of foot traffic. Give out flyers that tell the folks you interview when they will hear their voices on air.
    -Be visual. A strong visual will increase the likelihood that you’ll get press and/or social media attention. Create a radio-themed art installation and unveil it in a public square.
    -Broadcast live or invite your community to tell their stories.
    -Encourage donations.
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Local Radio to Hit Seattle Neighborhood Air Waves

Waves of Puget Sound will soon crash into Seattle neighborhoods. Air waves, that is, will carry hyper-local news, music and community dialogue directly to your home sweet home.

Last October, Brown Paper Tickets publicly introduced between 12 and 15 new neighborhood radio stations that could be added to the Puget Sound FM radio dial by 2016. Join Brown Paper Tickets in helping the voice of your neighborhood build a permanent home on the public airwaves.

Fremont Solstice Parade © Jim CleghornHelp Promote Neighborhood Radio in the Solstice Parade

80,000 people are expected on June 21, 2014 to come out and enjoy the 25th annual Fremont Solstice Parade. This year, you can promote Seattle’s new neighborhood radio stations, meet other radio supporters and enjoy crowds from a new perspective. Volunteer to walk (or rollerblade) in the 2-mile parade with Puget Sound neighborhood radio station supporters as part of the Green Hat Ensemble, a fundraising float that hopes to raise $25,000 (one-third of the entire budget for producing the Fremont Solstice Parade).

24 volunteer spots are available, but going quickly. Sign up to march with the Green Hat Ensemble or call Pamela Burton at 206-601-5191, or email her at burton5308@comcast.net. You can also just show up at 1:30PM on Saturday (June 21) at Fleur De Lis Statuary (39th and Leary). Look for other supporters next to 2 big green hats.

Will Your Community be Served by a Neighborhood Radio Station?

Peruse Brown Paper Tickets’ updated list below of all local radio license applicants to see if there is a station planned for your neighborhood. Want to become part of community radio in your neighborhood? Contact Brown Paper Tickets Public Media Doer, Sabrina Roach.

Why Neighborhood Radio?

“What if you heard your neighbor’s voice on air? Or your favorite local band? Or your barista?,” said Pam Burton of Fulcrum Community Communications, the nonprofit behind the neighborhood radio station planned for North Seattle, and organizer of neighborhood radio supporters in the Fremont Solstice Parade. “Young and old alike are invited to make neighborhood radio. We want everyone to join us in sharing your voices, amplifying what matters to Ballard, Fremont, Greenwood, Phinney, Queen Anne and Magnolia.”
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Community Radio Brainstorm: We Are Not Alone

Brainstorm1Post by Sabrina Roach, Brown Paper Tickets Public Media Doer

As director of Brown Paper Tickets’ National Make Radio Challenge, I helped as many nonprofit organizations as possible learn about the opportunity to apply for a free low-power FM radio license in 2013. This year, I’m assisting applicants in building capacity so they can successfully get on the air and start broadcasting to local communities.

I’m co-facilitating a public community brainstorm tonight, April 17, 2014, at Historic Takoma in Takoma Park, MD. We’ll talk about what’s going on nationally with low-power FM radio and Historic Takoma’s local effort to create low-power FM community radio. Even if they don’t get the radio frequency, they will have a great foundation for any kind of community media project. At the very least, they will have more of a focus on telling their own stories by making their own media.

If your organization was one of the 2,780 nonprofits, colleges and faith organizations that applied for a low-power FM (LPFM) frequency through the Federal Communications Commission last November—and especially if you are one of the 1,137 who’ve already had your application accepted by the FCC—there are many community radio stations already on the air that are happy to share their knowledge and experience with you. One of the best ways to find roughly 250 of them is to join the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. They have a listserve where people trade technical assistance and thoughts on community radio. All questions get answered either by peers or Federation staff. They also have group buys on music royalties and equipment.
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Five Ways Low Power FM Will Power Up Public Radio

ds106-world-radio-dayWorld Radio Day is this Thursday, February 13. It’s the perfect time to talk about how Low Power FM Radio could change the public and community radio landscape in the United States. For the past three years, I’ve been putting a shoulder into low power FM (LPFM) infrastructure development. I have helped to get the word out about the opportunity nationally, assisted nonprofits with their applications, fostered relationships between applicants and identified resources to help them build. I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm for community radio, and my little public radio nerd heart is gleeful about the potential. Maybe some of the ideas are a stretch. I’m certainly showing my enthusiastic idealist colors, but World Radio Day encourages expansive thinking and big ideas. One thing’s for sure, LPFM will have an impact.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) created World Radio Day in 2011 to annually prompt us to think about the transformative power of radio. This year their focus is gender equality. People from around the world are contributing audio and video clips in which they further the discussion about gender in radio and other ongoing structural issues like race and class.

We know we have structural issues in public media. We talk about them at our conferences and participate in trainings at our stations, but the conversation doesn’t get much past working on individual racism and an introduction to white privilege. These inequities require multipronged solutions. One small way to chip away at them is the current LPFM radio infrastructure build out.

Some numbers that illustrate how we’re doing:

Women hold less than 7% of all TV and radio station licenses.
People of color hold just over 7% of radio licenses and 3% of TV licenses.
[source: Free Press]

92.7% of journalists at commercial radio stations are white.
81.5% of journalists at non-commercial radio stations are white.
91.3% of radio news directors (commercial & non) are white.
67.3% of the work force in local radio news are male.
[source: Radio Television Digital News Association 2012 survey]

For reference, the US population is 51% female and 49% male / 72.4% white and 27.6% people of color [source: US 2010 census]
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Seattle! Celebrate the Sound of Tomorrow at the Pike Place Market!

SoundOfTom_FBNext Tuesday, October 15, two very important things are happening:

1. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will open an application window for thousands of low power FM radio frequencies (LPFM) across the United States.

2. Sabrina Roach, Brown Paper Tickets Doer, specializing in Public Media, will be producing a lunch to celebrate Puget Sound applicants!

We here at Brown Paper Tickets have been working for two and a half years to get the word out to non-profits around the country about the possibilities that LPFM offers — we see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shift our media landscape on both a local and national level. That’s why we’ve been collaborating with local public agencies to help support applicants.

All that work has paid off, and on this coming Tuesday, October 15th, we’re bringing together a celebration of the local organizations that could soon be popping up on your radio dial. Consider this your invitation to meet the LPFM applicants in your neighborhood, get your own map of the proposed new media landscape in the Puget Sound, and enjoy some free food while you’re at it.

They’re our airwaves. What’s your vision?

*What: Celebrate the Sound of Tomorrow: A Brown Paper Tickets Neighborhood Radio Party*

*Where:  Pike Place Market Elliott Bay Room on the top floor of the Economy Market Atrium.

*When: Tuesday, October 15th , 2013 at noon.

*RSVP here!

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Nonprofits Invited to Learn How to Own The Airwaves

Are you a nonprofit?

It’s time to dream big! Now, your nonprofit has an opportunity to own a piece of the airwaves, and it’s easier than you might think.

This Friday, November 30, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will announce rules on how nonprofits can apply for low-power FM radio licenses (LPFM) across the United States. These radio signals will reach 3 to 10 miles, serving communities in a similar way to how neighborhood and community blogs do for the online community.

We expect the FCC announcement will guarantee that the new local stations are run by truly local organizations and are broadcasting programming that originates locally. As radio signals go, LPFM isn’t too expensive, and you’d  have two years to raise the money. Watch the live Internet stream of the FCC meeting announcing the rules for application at 10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST,  here.  Join me for a #LPFM Twitter Party, hosted by Prometheus Radio Project, sharing comments, questions, and insights as we all watch the event.  If you miss the event, don’t worry!   To learn more about about what this announcement could mean for your school, community organization, or nonprofit, read on!


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Hyperglobal blog, Seattle Globalist Launch Party this Saturday!

The Seattle Globalist is a new “hyperglobal” blog celebrating the Seattle region’s international community and its many connections to the rest of the world. The Globalist offers an unexpected take on international travel, culture, development, and Seattle’s global-local connection.

Seattle has been named a “hyper-diverse city” by the Migration Policy Institute — we have more than 250,000 foreign-born residents, representing every region in the world, and no one country of origin makes up more than a quarter of that group.

The Globalist is a hub for the many people in our region who identify internationally in some way: immigrants, international NGO workers, foodies, travellers — anyone who feels a strong connection to the world outside of our borders. It covers everything from international foods (like Japanese Fusion Hot Dogs and the best Pakistani food on the east side) and bands (like these five international bands coming to Seattle) to Seattleites’ reflections on travelling in the Middle East as an Iranian Jew or in Las Vegas as a Jordanian-American. The Globalist has done stories about St. Patrick’s Day, folk music, and human rights in Burma. The site features a community calendar with international events from cooking classes to film screenings, and writers are drawn from Seattle’s tech, non-profit and journalism communities.

The Globalist is published by the Common Language Project, a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to covering under-reported international news through multimedia, which is based at the University of Washington.


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The FCC Demonstrates There’s Room for More LPFMs on the Airwaves in New Report

On Thursday, January 5th, The Federal Communications Commission released a report confirming that the presence of low power FM stations (LPFM) do not impact the advertising or audience of full power FM radio stations.

Currently there are 838 LPFM stations in the country operating at 100 watts or less and reaching a radius of three to ten miles. In 2007, bipartisan legislation was introduced to increase the number of available LPFMs. It was then that the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) came out strongly against the introduction of what they called “thousands of micro-radio stations to the FM band”. It is possible that several hundred nonprofits will apply for new LPFM licenses when the application window opens in fall 2012 and the NAB has been concerned that they will interfere with full power stations.
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Radio Doer Sabrina Says “Defend Public Media!”

Hey everyone! It’s Sabrina. As the Radio Doer here at Brown Paper Tickets, it’s essential that I advocate for public media. Therefore, in response to the recent threats on public media funding, I sent this letter to the editor of the Seattle Times expressing my concerns:

In my job and in my social life, I work to support public broadcasting and community media.

In our region, we’re fortunate to have several public media institutions. The House Appropriations Committee is proposing to wean NPR off federal funding by 2014. How will this impact KUOW and KPLU?

The attacks on public media funding have inspired many to get out in front of this issue and take action. I encourage you to do so as well.
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Radio/New Media Doer Sabrina: Clever Crafty Crafts I saw at Maker Faire New York

In September I had a chance to get to know people in the Maker Movement by attending Maker Faire New York. I had a blast and will be writing more about why I, as the Radio Doer went along with our Maker Doer Tamara Clammer and co-worker Kelly Allen. (hint: it has to do with building more relationships between Community Media and Makers/Hackers). I met many creative tech people and engineers – but the work of the crafters also caught my eye. I don’t knit, but I love fabric arts and independently made jewelry, so a few things caught my eye. The Brown Paper Tickets booth at was right next to a main thoroughfare – so I saw some incredible crafty crafts and wear-able art.

Some highlights:

Food Scarf!
I loved this scarf. Maybe you’ve seen art like this just hanging around people’s necks, but I haven’t. The whimsy of it just made me happy. I didn’t get her name, but she said she just graduated from school where she focused on animation. She calls her stuff Scarf It Down Knit Delicacies. Check out her Etsey Store!
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