i'm just back from the grassroots radio conference / prometheus project barnraising event in northampton, massachusetts, where i witnessed the final stages of a multi-year effort to bring a new low power radio station to life: valley free radio / WXOJ-LP. i can't tell you how exciting (and slightly surreal) it felt to watch (and help! participation in the process was highly encouraged) this come together, in a day and age where most news about 'new' radio service has to do with clear channel, or the religious right, or satellite radio. there's a brand new radio station on the air, RIGHT NOW!!!
in general i came away more impressed than ever (in awe, really) with the prometheus project, which considers itself 'a collective of radio activists.' this group (and anyone can be in the group. even you) travels around the world (they'll be in tanzania by the end of thursday) helping communities bring low power radio stations to life. additionally the group has lobbied for legislation to change current federal laws concerning media ownership, and by all accounts has become a force to be reckoned with. a force for good, that is.
for those in the chicago area, or anyone that's just waiting for an excuse to visit the windy city, rumor has it that the next prometheus 'barnraising' (station-building) will take place this november, in champaign-urbana - not so far. check back here, as i'll be posting more information then. all volunteers will be welcome, this i know already.
not only did i witness the birth of a new radio station over the weekend, i also caught an unexpected acoustic performance by thurston moore at a live taping of 'democracy now!'
really, the weekend gave me hope. Big Hope.