Young, energetic community activists and grizzled dirty hippies alike hailed last year's Low Power FM legislation. And it's worth celebrating; it's a tiny but important step to correcting the vast disaster that is the American radio dial. But so many questions arise when you sit to think how to capitalize on LPFM, and on the many other technologies that now fall under the "radio" banner. (Ironic, how fewer and fewer of those involve actual radios!)
Let's face it, the future is at least foggy ("glass half-full" perspective) and at worst bleak ("glass half empty") for liberal voices on the traditional radio dial. Look at the contrasts: Air America died quickly, with no replacement in sight; Glenn Beck signs on for more bazillions of dollars. But, my god, potential is still everywhere: LPFM, podcasting, satellite radio, the growing swarm of radio apps.
Question: how do we capitalize on that potential to give liberal voices a proper, powerful place in the public dialogue?
To answer that question, I want your stories and your wisdom.
In this weekend's show, we had planned to spend an hour talking about LPFM. And we still plan to - these small, independent community voices play a growing role in educating and inspiring their hyper-local listeners. But along the way, we've discovered this particular topic cries out for extensive listener input on the very future of liberal radio communication itself.
You can't spend too much time looking into LPFMs past and present before you realize the tendrils reach into oh-so-familiar ponds of media murk: corporate ownership, of course, but also the less predictable battle between Corporation for Public Broadcasting entities and the "little guys"; the quandary, as ever unsolved, over how to make a living creating unabashedly liberal programming; what the hell is happening to the business of radio. (Note to our younger readers: see, people used to power up this boxy thing that had nothing to do with the internet, and sounds would come out ... ).
So this weekend, we'll delve into LPFM as planned. But we'll take the time to go beyond it too. What's the future of radio where liberal voices and information are concerned? Who's listening now - and where will they be listening tomorrow?
And the key question: what roadmap can we plot for liberal voices to take the greatest possible advantage of "radio", in its various forms, to inform, educate, entertain, and motivate?Ideally, the collective wisdom of the Daily Kos faithful, the many guests we'll talk to, and the history we'll probe will coalesce into a DIY radio how-to that can benefit all. And I mean that quite literally -- because our country needs the broadest possible distribution of an honest, liberal point of view.
Please share your own experiences - as a broadcaster, as an activist, as an audience member seeking out the good stuff. Post here - or email me via our site - any of the following:
• your own tales from the trenches at Pacifica, small community stations, larger news organizations;Finally, let me make room for the naysayers, too. If you think radio is dead - as an art form, as a business, as a venue for political speech - we'll incorporate that into the show, too.
• the spoils of your search for good political information, well delivered, be it via traditional broadcast, podcasts, satellite radio, you name it;
• adventures in corporate radio;
• kudos to liberal/progressive/activist pioneers of eras past, and how that informs what you look for now.
The future of "radio", be it terrestrial, analog, digital, satellite, can only be guessed at. What's sure is that, even as you're reading this, informed and impassioned voices on the Left-to-Center spectrum need a secure beachhead to build on - to reclaim our place in the larger dialogue. What wisdom can you add to this history, this plan? Email me, or post your thoughts below in the comments section. And please, share this all around! We're recording on Thursday and will incorporate the early input into the show, then continue this conversation here.