Tag Archives: community radio

Internet Radio is Booming in Dublin

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!


Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council, and the Ark

Shreveport   My middle south tour was once again on the road for a new year with visits to Greenville and WDSV, the radio station we help manage, time in Little Rock with organizers with Local 100 and KABF, and then a zip over to Shreveport to bargain the renewal on a nursing home contract with Local 100 stewards and representatives.  Between stops there is a lot countryside full of cotton, soybeans, timber, and cattle.  Managing radio stations, I find myself trying to listen on the lower end of the dial to noncommercial radio whenever and wherever I can find it.  You always learn something!

Well, I found myself riveted to one show I stumbled onto when I heard myself listening to callers talking about standing tall over a controversy that was new to me involving a replica of an ark, purportedly THE ARK, as in Noah’s ark.  The Bible story holds that God told Noah a flood was coming and to build an ark large enough for people and creatures to float out the storm, so he did so.  In and of itself, that story has provoked endless controversy and crises of faith between believers and scientists who scoff at the impossibility of the situation and cite the geological records as evidence as well.

This controversy was different, though I couldn’t quite puzzle it out from the radio call-in and talk fest being conducted on “Washington Watch” by the notorious rightwing gay basher and politician threat hurler, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.  Callers were complaining that school children were not being taken to visit this ark replica because of some “Democratic communists’ atheists in Wisconsin.”  Perkins was egging them on.  They were encouraging teachers to bring kids on their own at the risk of being fired by their school districts in order to stand up for religion.  I was going down a wormhole and wasn’t sure there was a way out!

The internet tells me that a guy named Ken Ham with something called Answers in Genesis has built both the Creation Museum and Ark Encounters in norther Kentucky.  Ark Encounters purports to be an over 500-foot replica of sorts.  He got an $18 million package of tax incentives from the state of Kentucky to build the thing in 2016, and over a $1 million rebate check from the state on sales taxes last year.  Attendance isn’t what they had projected at over one-million in the two years it has been opened, but 800,000 isn’t shabby.

That’s part of the bruhaha, because the heavy breathers are complaining that they would have more ark folks if they could get the public schools to roll the yellow buses up to see for themselves.  The Freedom from Religion folks sent a letter to school boards all over Kentucky and anywhere else telling them don’t pay the admission because of the separation of church and state.  Of course, the admission runs from $15 for children to $48 whooping bucks for adults and that might be part of the turnstile problem as well.

On the radio, they were filled with righteous indignation and fired up about this whole ark thing.  I just wanted you to know what you’re missing in the deep red heartlands.