History of Community Radio and Takeovers

Community radio stations, often called grassroots radio, have an unfortunate history of struggle. The Grassroots Radio Movement in the U.S. explains what distinguishes grassroots radio from the better-known public radio, and alludes to struggles. One avenue of struggle came from the Blueprint Project (PDF) funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which was later also funded by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and renamed the Healthy Station Project. The aims of these programs was, and is, to increase "public service", which the FCC defines as increasing the number of listeners -- rather than any measure of whether the content is actually a service to the public.

HSP/Blueprint recommends wooing channel-surfing listeners with predictable, more mainstream programming, and avoiding anything which could offend them. Unfortunately these listeners are as likely to leave as to stay because neither the programming nor the outreach process are tailored to produce fiercely loyal members and future programmers who form the bedrock of grassroots radio.

Even the listener-supported national Pacifica Radio Network, carried by most community radio stations, suffered power and political struggles. The save pacifica campaign[1][2] was an effort to de-centralize decision making in the network and take it back from those who wanted to effectively commercialize and even sell it. This report from a 1999 teach in is surprisingly relevant to many local community radio struggles. Much of the Pacifica struggle revolved around the tension between status-quo profit-focused business practices applied to community radio versus Pacifica founder Lew Hill's community radio model and a grassroots radio decision making process (scroll down a bit on the linked page).

KRFC's Struggle

A unique overview of KRFC's struggle is told by many different voices in important letters. A simplified historical timeline may be found in mission-related history. The main flashpoint happened in early 2006 as station management approved a new station mission despite objections of members who presented a petition, subsequently kicking out three dedicated volunteers. One of the documents used when trying to combat the 2006 proposed mission statement change was the comparision of the missions.

A brief catalog of events since the the petition, and a radio show about KRFC from a year earlier round out the collection.

The Blueprint Project for commercialization, corporatization, and homogenization of community radio.101.23 KB
PRFR dba KRFC Articles of Incorporation200.08 KB
PRFR dba KRFC Articles of Incorporation amendment49.06 KB