Internet Radio is Booming in Dublin

ACORN ACORN International

Little Rock      In Dublin, Ireland, ACORN’s affiliate, CATU-Ireland, shares offices in a progressive, community co-working space with a bunch of different organizations and artists in a building near the Mountjoy neighborhood called Jigsaw.  The name captures the sense of bringing a number of different groups – pieces – in the city together.  Meetings are held downstairs.  There was a rave the Saturday night before I arrived that went all hours.  We share space with the Dublin Tenant Action Group and next door was a small space with D.D.R. marked on the front window.

D.D.R.  stands for Dublin Digital Radio, an internet radio station that started only two or three years ago and has made their studio in Jigsaw.  Different kinds of music and hosts have found a home there quickly.  I talked to Rachel Kiersey at some length for Wade’s World. She and her son are on the board of the Community Action Tenants Union and their family had put me up the first night I was in Dublin on an estate about forty kilometers outside of the city, bordering the Irish Sea.  She acts as the scheduler for D.D.R., so it gave me an opportunity to learn more about how such internet-streaming only stations were getting on.

We’re very interested for many reasons.   Of course, all of our stations stream on the internet, so we know how powerful that can be.  Importantly, we are trying to move mountains, almost literally, but more accurately find the tallest building that might work in the giant Korogocho megaslum in Nairobi, so we can stream at KOCH-FM, which we are now co-managing as a small “voice of the people” station in this area where we have been organizing ACORN for most of a decade.   AM/FM, the Affiliated Media Foundation Movement, is also supporting a joint application for an internet station operating in Uganda with our application before the commissioners now.  We’re hoping that could also be a prelude to a terrestrial station.  The challenging question is whether it will work and be sustainable.

Certainly, the experience in Dublin with D.D.R. seems to be a big resounding, yes.  They are just off of a 20,000-euro crowd funding campaign to move and build out a new studio in larger space, and their support exceeded their goals.  They have more than one-hundred “residents,” which is what they are calling their hosts or DJs.  Their website is gorgeous!

Rachel was unsure about their listenership precisely.  They are using a program that makes analytics difficult, and expensive it seemed to me, but the support from hosts and listeners, as evidenced by the fundraiser, seems strong.  They have found a big opening on the dial for alternative music, partially it seems because the noncommercial side of radio is decidedly not community radio, if I understood her correctly.  Furthermore, such local, community stations that exist are also commercial.  Clearly that helps pay the bills, but it’s different from the US experience by a long shot.

Radio is still powerful everywhere.  We just submitted our renewal application for WAMF in New Orleans, next week we will do so for WDSV in Greenville, and KABF is coming up this spring.  The AM/FM board has its annual meeting in coming days in New Orleans.

Let’s make hundreds of these flowers bloom to create voices – and power — for the people!