Step Up to the Microphone!

September 9, 2013

Scan across just about any radio dial in the entire country, and you'll hear exactly the same big city, big corporate programming: Rush Limbaugh, Fox Sports, Top 40, NPR.
But what about local programming? Where are the reporters covering the city council or the county board of supervisors? High school football or Little League? Bake sales or community events? This kind of homegrown programming was once the heart and soul of radio. It formed a public square that informed listeners about the community's very identity.
We've missed that spirit of radio since 1996, when Bill Clinton and Congress decided to allow a few national companies to program the entire nation with their corporate choices of music, sports, and political talk, local needs be damned.
But thanks to activists ranging from the Philadelphia area Prometheus Radio to the Davis, California non-profit Common Frequency, the true heart and soul of radio may be coming back -- if people in local communities choose to be the media they want to hear.