In my world, podcasting is my primary method of getting information and learning about what is happening now or in the past. Sometimes it gets so that I forget there are still plenty of people who listen to regular radio in an effort to get similar information. Recently here in Amsterdam I find myself spending time with people who produce material for regular radio, and it is a funny sort of reminder… of the significance that radio still has and to some extent will always have.
Then I read the words of the great Amy Goodman as she talks about the situation in the United States and how for various reasons, there is a chance next month for community groups to apply for FM radio liscences. This is extremely rare, as I recall, having a community station on FM is extremely difficult not to mention expensive. But of course, radio is going digital in the US, so the old-school analog spectrum is going to loosen up, leaving room for groups that have been routinely shut out, to have access to the kind of audience you get with radio.
There is even a useful website where you can get informed on how to get your own community radio station. Which makes me think there are lots of groups that might not know about this and would like to have a radio station. I think about the various Portuguese communities throughout the NorthEast US, or the cool land cooperatives like the MLC which I visited in Florida this past spring… so many types of communities could benefit from finally being able to broadcast on the FM dial.
Naturally I’m still a proponent of podcasting as the best way to reach people and ensure the freedom that people can listen when they want and where they want. Not to mention having diverse and passionate voices and points of view. Still– it is good for me to get out of my terrestrial radio denial, and see that not only is radio alive and well, but in the case of the US, there’s a new chance to start up new stations that will truely serve communities and encourage diversity.