When flooding rains pounded Texas earlier this summer, many communities found themselves in crisis. With wired network infrastructures flooded and unusable and power a sometimes-thing draining the battery-packs at cell tower-sites, many Texans found themselves reaching for their radio to find out what was going on.
One area that was hit very hard by the rains was Austin and surrounding towns, including Wimberley, Texas: flash-flooding sent a wall of water down the Blanco River in the Wimberley Valley on Memorial Day weekend that swept away entire structures, killing several people and doing millions of dollars in damage. Just a couple of years earlier, folks there had founded a non-profit organization to apply for an LPFM license. Construction permit in hand, when the rains came and wiped out most other community communications they did not stand idly by. Continue reading “Radio in Times of Crises”
Congratulations to WQRZ-LP in Kiln, Mississippi, honored last week for its heroic efforts following the area’s ravaging by Hurricane Katrina. WQRZ can be heard in Waveland, where temporary autonomous microradio also helped out during the storm’s immediate aftermath. Continue reading “LPFM Station Honored for Post-Katrina Broadcasts”
Good news in New Orleans: after apparently having to make an emergency move earlier this month, Tulane University’s student radio station went back on the air last weekend from makeshift space. WTUL is live during the day and automated at night.
In Brattleboro, Vermont, the community group holding a construction permit for an LPFM station on 107.7 MHz has announced its intent to begin broadcasting next spring. Vermont Earth Works just kicked off a fundraising drive to raise more than $10,000 for Brattleboro Community Radio (BCR)’s basic station infrastructure needs. Continue reading “WTUL Returns; Brattleboro Community Radio Plans Launch”
After an FCC visit to Radio Algiers last month, community radio activists working on the reconstruction of New Orleans brainstormed the notion of utilizing the facilities of WTUL, the student-run station of Tulane University. WTUL had plans to return to the air in January.
This blog says University officials decided to demolish the building housing the station and The Hullabaloo, Tulane’s student weekly, on Tuesday. Station and paper staffers were given a weekend’s notice to move everything. Since then, no word.
As for microbroadcast activity: there have been no reports since mid-November, and the Radio Algiers stream link has gone bad.
Illinois: It seems that a group of folks headed out after the WRFU barnraising to pay a visit to Springfield, the home of Mbanna Kantako‘s Human Rights Radio. They found Kantako and the station in good spirits, albeit at extremely low power, thanks to a blown amplifier, which is now under repair.
Kantako celebrates his 18th nearly-uninterrupted year on the air in five days – a large portion of which has been archived on tape. Continue reading “Scene Reports: Illinois, Louisiana”
FCC agents reportedly paid a visit (32:39, 15 MB, thanks V-Man and Indynewswire) to Radio Algiers in New Orleans on November 2. The station is off the air indefinitely; plans are to try and utilize the facilities of WTUL to help those desiring to speak truth to power acquire a spot on the local radio dial. Please note the irony: the FCC can make the rounds but FEMA is still missing in action. Hopefully the gear will stay in circulation.
More than 120 folks have signed up to help build our little LPFM station in Urbana this weekend. Registration will be accepted on-site, so it’s not too late to get involved. Even if you can’t make it, you can still participate in our inaugural broadcast. Visit this page and follow the instructions to give WRFU greetings, which we’ll broadcast as part of our inaugural smorgasbord show Sunday evening.
The station’s now regularly broadcasting from Common Ground on 88.7 FM. It has one main (75-watt) and one backup (40-watt) transmitter and is also reliably streaming online (direct links: mp3 / m3u). I had best luck listening by copying and pasting the stream links directly into player software.
The city’s power grid still has its flaky moments but otherwise it seems things are relatively stable now. I’ve heard interviews with people arrested in crazy-cop curfew sweeps, Slave Revolt Radio, and some excellent music. A recently-installed phone line will go a long way toward opening up the information flow. Continue reading “Radio Algiers Update”
Free Radio Berkeley’s 75-watt transmitter arrived safe and sound. It’s been re-tuned to 88.7 FM and is presently putting out about 80-90 watts. A shed’s been cleared out to serve as a full-time studio space; a military surplus mast has been procured and assembled; and a new antenna sits on top of it. Soon the station will be webcasting as well. The vibe is increasingly active as more and more people return to the city: there is much to do and many stories to tell.
There are approximately four workable microradio frequencies in the New Orleans metropolitan area, three short-term and one (arguably) longer-term: Continue reading “Algiers Microradio Gets Upgrade”
Radio Free Waveland is microbroadcasting messages of hope. This clip (2:29, 1.2 MB) from a recent interview with a volunteer who served thousands of meals at the New Waveland Cafe demonstrates the station’s function as a bridge between the patchwork of grassroots groups who showed up to serve the still-reconstituting community – they range from Seventh Day Adventists to organic farmers practicing anarchism.
“There’s so much animosity along class/culture lines in this country, it’s good to show up and be an example of how many untruths are told about people…that are, you know, not Christian, or just different, you know, the xenophobia that gets pushed. It’s been challenged here,” says Dave Sayotovich, “and the station has been a big part in that.”
Mississippi: A crew from the Midwest has arrived in Waveland, Mississippi, where the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina made landfall. 30-foot storm surges left survivors literally naked – yet a tent city of sorts has blossomed among the destruction. “Radio Free Waveland” is now providing a 40-watt morale boost among those trying to make the most of a desperate situation (still no FEMA there).
District of Columbia: WSQT gave a fiery interview to the folks at Free Radio Santa Cruz this week. The station is currently off the air after donating its transmitter to Gulf Coast relief efforts and is also relocating following a visit from the FCC earlier this month. I’m a big fan of WSQT’s intensity: it is a guerrilla war, and time and numbers work in our favor.
California: Stephen Dunifer and volunteers with Free Radio Berkeley are assembling a 75-watt transmitter to send to New Orleans. Also, there have been more reports about Berkeley Liberation Radio returning to the air on a regular basis, although details remain sketchy.