Prometheus Radio Project teams with WGXC to hold our 12th community radio barnraising later this year! Radio barnraisings are weekend-long radio-building and movement-building events. Individuals from the local community and participatory media folks from around the country come together to share ideas, experiences, and skills in the launching of a community radio station.
The overwhelming majority of the airwaves have been reserved for a powerful few who take advantage of the complicated technical and political system of media regulation. This inequity in our media system is a reflection of larger structural inequalities in our society. Prometheus’s mission is to build participatory radio as a tool for social justice organizing and a voice for community expression. We work for media justice, seeking to diversify control of the media as a necessary step towards a more equitable distribution of power and resources. We value radio because it is easy to produce, free to consume, and accessible to more people across the world than any other mass media, and we work to help grassroots organizations build communications infrastructure to strengthen their communities and movements.
Prometheus has supported hundreds of community organizations to apply for non-commercial low power FM (LPFM) radio licenses, as well as full power non-commercial license (full power stations). We have also helped build stations, either through providing resources and support or through radio barnraisings, where hundreds of volunteers gather to build a radio station of the course of a few days. These radio barnraisings have helped groups build their base while training a new generation of media organizers across the country. Prometheus has held barnraisings all over the county with eleven groups over the past eight years. These stations have encompassed everything from farmworker unions to civil rights organizations to rural arts groups.
WGXC: Hands-On Radio is a community-run media project in New York’s Greene and Columbia counties. Over 78,000 potential listeners will be able to receive WGXC’s FM signal on 90.7-FM once the station gets on the air with the Prometheus Barnraising in the last week of September. WGXC will be much more than just a radio station, with regular exhibitions and events, ongoing media trainings for our community’s youth and adults, a news blog, and a local calendar of events, community meetings, and resources. The station will serve a media-deprived area between Albany and New York City, a mostly rural area deeply rooted in agriculture and small industry with small urban centers, and home to a thriving music and arts community. WGXC will be the first radio station of its kind in the area created by and for people who live in the community. With local newspapers and independent media outlets rapidly disappearing from the area, this station offers a important opportunity for journalists and community members to get the training needed to produce high quality local news, as well as the outlet for that information to air.
WGXC will serve as an on-air arena where different and conflicting points of view can come together to share perspectives, acting as a local “trading post” for historic, creative, playful, and informative content. WGXC will provide the tools to make voices heard, and become a vehicle to build understanding. The station will be uniquely decentralized with three main studios spread out across the listening range, allowing broader access and participation from residents of both counties. Partnerships are already forming with schools, music venues, and town halls to live feed from various locations, furthering the scope of the station.
WGXC’s mission is to cultivate and to preserve the unique character of our area, the voices, and conversations of Greene and Columbia county residents, especially those that are rarely heard. “Hands-on Radio” captures the essence of this project. WGXC’s participatory environment will bring to life the idea that media is not something that is fed to us, but something we create with our own hands, hearts, and minds.