My name is Kate, and I currently work as a beekeeper in St Albans, and as an oral historian – right now, I’m a field interviewer with the Vermont Historical Society for the Vermont 70s Project. It’s truly an honor to collect people’s stories and reflect with them about their lives and the choices that they’ve made. I’ve been involved with various community radio organizing efforts for over ten years – and I’ve loved radio ever since high school, when I was a summer DJ playing music made by women on WPRB, a great independent station at Princeton University.
Back when I lived in the Philadelphia, I worked for years with the Prometheus Radio Project, the leading advocate for Low Power FM. Along with a bevy of other media justice organizations and community groups of all stripes, Prometheus led the effort to successfully expand LPFM with the passage of the Local Community Radio Act back in 2010; after that, the FCC opened the “application window” in which WBTV-LP applied for our license. At Prometheus, we built low power radio stations in weekend-long events we called radio barnraisings, advocated for LPFM in Congress and the FCC, and offered technical support to low power community stations across the country. Our goal was to demystify technology so that communities could use it to make their world a better place, and our core constituents were groups working to use media as a tool for social justice organizing. Listen to Gerardo Reyes talking to me about the importance of community radio for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group fighting for fair wages and worker’s rights for tomato pickers in Florida (and the first station Prometheus built in a radio barnraising), to get a sense of the difference that low power radio can make in communities:
As Gerardo says, the possibilities within community radio are endless. I believe in the power and possibility of stories. And there’s something about the intimacy of the human voice over the airwaves that I really feel connects people to each other, and nurtures dialogue and mutual understanding. For me, community radio is an essential vehicle for community expression, debate, and future-making, as well as for supporting participatory democracy. It enriches our lives through music, fun, the serious and the mundane, embracing differences of opinion, and the inevitable hokey screw-ups. Plus, it’s radio waves – electromagnetic magic pulsing through the air, captured and transformed into sound! Never ceases to blow my mind.
I am so excited to see a group of such talented people coalesce who are so committed to making this station a reality. I want to hear my neighbors – whether you’re 8 or 80, passionate about wooden boats (like me) or hopscotch or free jazz or social justice or wildlife tracking or civil liberties – share their knowledge and insight on the air. Join in the revelry around radio!