Podcasts ... streaming ... satellite radio ... Broadcast content that used to be confined to the traditional AM/FM dial is moving beyond its terrestrial moorings to an exponentially expanding media universe.
The Progressive Radio Northwest (PRNW) team obviously supports and promotes new technologies as important platforms for progressive broadcast voices. But that doesn't mean we should abandon promoting the progressive point of view on the free public airwaves. It's our right, it's our mandate, and it's well worth the fight.
Here are some important reasons to keep local, terrestrial progressive radio alive and feisty:
- Radio stations rooted in the diverse, inherent character of their regions can be invaluable community resources.
- Listening to a live broadcast can be a uniquely powerful communal experience, and in turn a powerful vehicle to promote community. The newer technologies offer convenience, but so far lack this potential.
- Why should we give up on the free public airwaves? They belong to all of us. And just because AM talk radio is dominated by an extreme right wing bias, that doesn't mean we automatically have to cede the national conversation to intolerance and aggressive misinformation.
- The cost of the new technologies can be prohibitive for many progressives and would-be progressives.
Supporting terrestrial radio is counter-intuitive to the prevailing wisdom of most media "experts." Ever since the 80s and 90s, when deregulation and consolidation fever swept the radio landscape, industry magazines and websites have trumpeted variation after variation on the imminent "demise" of terrestrial radio.
The PRNW Team believes, that with vision and bold, creative ideas, progressive terrestrial radio is a valuable, viable endeavor that can make a significant contribution to the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest and to the national conversation.
We have been reviewing a number of possible options, from creating a community owned station to simply taking over an existing frequency. Streaming capabilities and other ways to interface with the new tech should be a priority. We want to feature the national shows we all know and love, anchored by relevant community content and local talent.
With the right leadership and capital support, the potential exists to create a newly envisioned business model that will help local terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era.