(Photo by Tony Abraham)
When President Barack Obama passed the Local Community Radio Act into law in 2011, the Federal Communications Commission began dishing out over 800 construction permits to budding community radio stations across the country, with more to come.
Last year, Philadelphia Community Access Media (PhillyCAM) landed one of those permits. Beginning July 12, 106.5FM will be WPPM (People Powered Media), airing local news and music produced for and by community members.
But first, because the nonprofit’s funds are only designated to its cable programming, PhillyCAM will need another $20,000 to get the station going. For that, they’ve turned to IndieGoGo‘s crowdfunding site for nonprofits (and pseudo-name-stealer), Generosity.
PhillyCAM has already raised $10K for operations through individuals donations, said community radio organizer and PhillyCAM consultant Vanessa Maria Graber, with an average donation size between $50 and $106.
Graber, who worked on the campaign to get the Local Community Radio Act passed, said the $20K figure is based on the funds necessary to buy studio equipment. The second floor of PhillyCAM’s space on 7th Street is currently being renovated to accommodate the new radio station’s needs.
But there’s a catch.
According to the construction permit doled out by the FCC, PhillyCAM’s station needs to be up, running and on the air by July 12. Graber said the radio won’t officially launch until the studio is built and on-air staff is trained.
That’s why PhillyCAM is getting pre-produced content from its members ready to air until the studio is finished and members can demonstrate they know how to use equipment properly and have an understanding of FCC rules. But right now, Graber said, the nonprofit is dispatching a handful of working groups to let folks know the station exists.
And if they can’t raise the $20K? Generosity still allows campaigns to collect funds raised if goals aren’t hit and allows campaigns to be extended. But at some point, to keep the radio station going, PhillyCAM will need to raise that money — again and again.
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Graber isn’t fazed.
“I’ve been working on this for six years and there are people involved in this movement for more than that,” she said. “To see something like this in Philadelphia where I live is really satisfying. We had to literally change the law to make it possible to build this station.”