By Alex Gaughan–
There is no shortage of excitement over innovation in the tech industry as last week’s latest i-Product announcement demonstrated. Yet with all of the advancements in content delivery since the iPod, support for FM radio has continued. FM radio remains the most accessible platform for millions of Americans, and FCC rule changes could bring new community radio stations to metro Louisville by the end of the year.
ART+FM, a Louisville based nonprofit organization, is hoping to snag a frequency and create programming by and for the Louisville art community– something founder and Hite Art Institute graduate Sharon Scott said, “has never been done before on radio.”
According to its website ART+FM will provide a space on radio for artists to experiment with voice, community outreach and promotion. The intent is to make radiobroadcasting possible for anyone with a creative interest in the community. The first chance to see what Scott and others are talking about will be during this year’s IdeaFestival where ART+FM will be broadcasting live for the first time.
“100 years dominated by commercials and religious group, but artists haven’t had the opportunity to access it,” said Scott. “We’re going to be experimental with sound art and thinking about what radio is, and how it can be used to effect people.”
ART+FM lists the Hite Art Institute and the Speed Art Museum as organizational partners. Kirsten Popp, Public Relations Coordinator for Speed, says ART+FM will provide an opportunity for the Speed to continue contributing to the community once its doors close for renovation. The exact details have yet to be worked out, but both sides remain optimistic about the potential of the partnership.
There are hurdles ART+FM must cross before listeners can tune in with a flick of the radio dial though. The FCC specifies that organizations applying for a frequency should have NPO status for at least two years. ART+FM will fall short of this requirement by several months if the frequencies open up in the third quarter of this year as expected, but this does not necessarily disqualify ART+FM.
There is also speculation that few, if any frequencies, will be made available to Louisville organizations due to an already crowded radio scene, and ART+FM is not alone in its ambitions.
Forward Radio (WFOR), which falls under the Fellowship of Reconciliation umbrella, is in the process of gathering partners and donors for a community activist station.
“Through WFOR’s programming, both local and global voices will be given a platform,” said co-founder and University of Louisville graduate Jared Zarantonello. “And because of our commitment to an independent non-corporate media, our goal will be to air those voices that too often go unheard.”
As the organizations gear up for an active fall preparing for the FCC’s announcement, each is seeking volunteers and participants to push their campaigns forward. According to Scott, ART+FM is seeking volunteers “from all walks of life.” There is a link on the ART+FM website, artxfm.com, to get more information.