As communities ask themselves what can be done to prevent future Trayvon Martin or Oscar Grant tragedies, activists point to the media – particularly community owned media and promoting citizen journalism.
By Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris
7.22.13 – National – (Politics/Nonprofit): More than a thousand low power FM radio stations will go up for grabs across the country one-time only this October thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Prometheus Radio Project, a nonprofit organization founded to build, support and advocate for community radio stations.
As communities ask themselves what can be done to prevent future Trayvon Martin or Oscar Grant tragedies, Philadelphia activists Jeff Rousset and Michael Coard are pointing to the media – particularly generating more independent community owned media and promoting citizen journalism.
According to Prometheus Radio Project’s National Organizer Jeff Rousset, the NAACP has already passed a national resolution to encourage all their members and affiliates to get involved in the biggest opportunity in decades for communities of color to own broadcast media outlets. Colorofchange.org is also spreading the word about this historic chance and supporting their members to start stations.
In a competitive process wherein content won’t be part of the judging criteria, there are a few low power FM avaialble for the Philadelphia market, the fourth largest media market in the country. One station in Philly could possibly reach over 100,000 local listeners, plus steam online. Organizations interested in applying for licenses should meet criteria. Groups have an advantage is they are more than two years old, don’t own a broadcast license, are able to pay the upfront engineering study costs and pledge to produce a minimum of eight hours of local programming per day.
“Radio is the cheapest form of media to consume. 90% of Americans listen to radio at least once a week. That’s more than 200 million people. A big problem with radio today however is that it’s commercialized; the loudest voice in radio today is Rush Limbaugh; with over 15 million weekly listeners. Conservatives use radio to criminalize communities of color, whether African Americans, immigrants, or Muslims, to build a conservative base built on fear and push conservative policies. We believe that progressive groups and movement builders need to control our own media in order to control our stories and get the word out to people about what’s actually going on and how they can get involved in being part of the solution,” says Rousset, who first came to Prometheus during their successful campaign to pass the Local Community Radio Act.
“We can’t expect corporate media to tell our stories, they’re owned by corporations. What we need is citizen journalism; everyone armed with a camera. Citizen journalist contributed a big deal to the Oscar Grant case as everyone had their phone out recording video and police were unable to lie and say Oscar started a fight with them.While the problem exist with police now confiscating phones, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a new app for mobile phones wherein you can record police brutality and have it archived to the ACLU database. People don’t have to be trained journalist to use their phones to expose injustice,” says Attorney Michael Coard, Founder of ATAC.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
About Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris:
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Christopher Norris is an award-winning journalist and online content producer whose works can be seen on www.PhillyinFocus.com, www.FounderSync.com and Comcast’s Xfinity OnDemand. In 2013 Christopher Norris was recognized as a BMe Leadership Award Winner (Knight Foundation), Philly DoGooder “Emerging Leader” (Here’s My Chance) and “Brother of the Year” (Brothers’ Network). Norris currently serves as the CEO of Techbook Online Corporation, an integrated marketing and news organization he founded in 2009.
About Techbook Online Corporation®:
Techbook Online Corporation (TBO Inc) is an integrated internet, multi-media publishing and sustainable marketing organization. Headquartered in Philadelphia, TBO Inc is one of the largest and most active publishers on Comcast’s www.PhillyinFocus.com. For more information www.techbookonline.com
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