Free Speech Radio News Rides Again

Free Speech Radio News announced this past weekend that it will resume a semblance of operations on Tuesday, February 11th. It’s a soft launch, beginning with the provision of limited content and then working up to the resumption of regular daily broadcasts.
A pioneer of the networked newsroom, FSRN has been a stalwart of community broadcasting in the United States for more than a dozen years. Unfortunately, it fell silent last September after its major funder, Pacifica Radio, welshed on several outstanding bills.
In the last four months FSRN staffers and contributors went through some serious soul-searching and fund-hunting. They’ve found an angel donor to help with the relaunch, and its website will feature supplemental content to the newscast.
Radio stations will pay a sliding-scale fee to carry Free Speech Radio News. However, between that, some "revenue-generating side projects," and the angel-funding, it’s not enough to put FSRN on a firm path to sustainability.(Donations are always welcome.)
The amount of program acquisition funding that community radio stations have available is being squeezed, as acquisition costs for popular programs go up while subsidies that many stations receive from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to acquire them do not. No noncommercial radio news program supports itself on affiliate-fees and public donations alone. No word on how large this gap is or how long the program can go before it begins to feel the pinch, but FSRN will only commit to a full-time broadcast schedule once the finances are solid enough.
FSRN’s ground-level perspective on journalism and social justice was irreplaceable, and I’m glad it’ll be back in my news-mix. Here’s to a long second life.