Non-commercial radio plays a major role in the discovery of music of all genres. From indie-rock to hip-hop to folk to jazz to classical, the music played on public broadcasting stations reaches listeners in American communities large and small.
The non-commercial radio universe consists of college stations, community stations, Low Power FM and National Public Radio. Non-commercial radio fills a void on the airwaves, providing a platform for local artists and creating exposure for tomorrow’s superstars. This approach to broadcasting helps sustain local creative communities while helping artists develop their careers. It is a spirit we would love to see inhabit the entire broadcasting sector, including commercial radio.
Reports show that listeners of non-commercial radio are active purchasers of music and attendees of live performances and other cultural events. In this time of economic difficulty for local communities, it is crucial that non-commercial broadcasters can continue to deliver diverse content to audiences seeking new sounds and experiences.
Future of Music Coalition and our friends in the music and arts communities find it troubling that Congress would consider reducing or even eliminating funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio. Such an action would have a devastating impact on thousands of musicians, local arts organizations and arts supporters who rely on these stations to learn about new music and cultural events in their communities.
Check out this letter to Congress from Billboard chart-topping artists the Decemberists and this one from a broad array of arts and culture groups (including FMC).
There have been important victories in the fight to expand and protect non-commercial radio. In December 2010, Congressional champions joined with grassroots advocates and public interest groups — ranging from civil rights, environmental, arts, and religious organizations — to bring a diversity of views and voices to American radio via expanded Low Power FM service. Ten years in the making, the historic passage of the Local Community Radio Act shows that small groups and individuals can make a difference.
We believe that radio has the power to inspire, inform and entertain while serving up distinct local and regional flavor. And the musicians we’ve talked to think so, too.
The I Support Community Radio campaign documents the importance of local and noncommercial broadcasting to the creative sector. Musicians of every stripe have stories about how radio has touched their lives and helped them reach audiences.
It’s time to tell yours.
Here are a few ways musicians and music fans can fight for local and noncommercial radio:
Tell the world about your support through your social networks:
Music needs #noncommercialradio and I do, too!
The arts need #noncommercialradio and I do, too!
Make a video explaining why community radio is important to you, and we’ll put it on YouTube. You can even sing your support!
Need inspiration? Check out what some of our favorite musicians have to say:
David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet
Artists from Local 782, San Antonio Music Coalition
Michael Bracy of Misra Records and Future of Music Coalition
Buffalo, NY singer-songwriter Lisa Rose
Interested in being a part of this project? Send an e-mail to casey [at] futureofmusic [dot] org for details on how to submit your own video testimonial.