In order to meaningfully diversify media ownership and ensure access to local programming for communities of color, the Federal Communications Commission must approve hundreds of new community radio licenses in urban centers. African Americans live in cities in significantly higher percentages than the total population, but we are able to tune in to just 7 community radio stations — out of more than 800 in the nation — in our largest 50 urban centers.
The FCC is responsible for ensuring that the public airwaves serve all of the public. But until now, the big commercial media outlets — the ones that monopolize most of what we hear on urban radio — have successfully pressured the FCC to keep community radio out of their most lucrative markets. Click here to tell the FCC today: our cities need community radio!More »
UPDATE: (03/29/12) Mr. Knighten is eligible to have his charges dropped in exchange for 20 hours of community service.
Last month, police and federal agents raided activist Albert Knighten's home and arrested him. His crime? Operating a pirate radio station out of his spare bedroom. Now the retired Navy air traffic controller faces a felony charge for operating the station without a license — a charge that could land him behind bars for five years. It's the latest incident to highlight the need for community control of media, specifically the important role that low-power radio stations can play in communities of color.
It's an issue that's been on ColorOfChange's radar for a while. We were part of the coalition that helped pass the Local Community Radio Act last year, a major piece of legislation that will ensure that people like Knighten are no longer sanctioned for bringing relevant news and information to their neighbors. Unfortunately for him, the bill is just now being implemented. His station was ahead of its time.More »
UPDATE: You can watch the archived video of the event or listen to the audio recording here.
On Monday, January 9th, ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson will participate in a webcast titled, "Civil Rights and the Airways: Building Community Radio in Communities of Color." Co-sponsored by allies including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Media Action Grassroots Network, this discussion is the place to learn about how to transform the media landscape in your community. Please join us! Tune in here Monday, January 9th at 4pm EST.