Voices of Reason Radio Update #6

Published 11 years ago -

VOICES of REASON Radio Grant received

Hello VOICE of REASON Radio Founders and Supporters,

We are pleased to report several new developments.

First, we have submitted a grant to the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program. A few excerpts from the grant are copied below. We have asked for Phase One funding, which we define as pre-license expenses. We anticipate the grant to cover possible future attorney and engineering fees, as well as other expenses.

Second, we have had generous consulting and software donated by Jim Vernon and Kang-Hung Yang. They have coordinated with Susan Cogan and Mary Francis to develop a work/event business timeline, aka Radio Project Timeline, which helps us immensely in our planning. Also, Lucinda Diann has donated her time to develop a spreadsheet of Founder and Supporter info.

Third, the OK Sustainability Network Conference has invited Mary Francis to present a Community Radio workshop on Friday, March 28 at 10:30 a.m. at the Municipal Complex, 201-A W. Gray St. in Norman.

And fourth, we continue to add new Founders and Supporters. As we have reported before, the opportunity to become a Founder (someone who either donates or pledges a non-interest bearing loan) will be held open until the FCC actually notifies us that we have been granted an FCC broadcast license (also called a Construction Permit.) Notification could be tomorrow or next year, since we have no idea where we are in the FCC stack of 3,600 applications. If you know someone who would be interested in becoming a Founder, please forward them the donation & pledge of non-interest bearing loan forms which are attached.

As usual, we attach the previous updates for those who are new to the VOICE of REASON Radio Project.

And “Stay tuned!”
Mary Francis,

NUUF Radio Advisory Chair
405 474-0695

Excerpts from UUFP grant:

Our goal is to advance our effort to provide a local, progressive message that will encourage civic involvement and increase participation and unified efforts by a wide variety of local organizations interested in public policy dialogue and action. We plan to demonstrate our commitment to building a community which values secular and spiritual freedom, free speech, and the separation of church and state via our VOICE of REASON Radio Project. The outcome would be a progressive, activist community with a liberal perspective, which uses public air space to promote peace, challenge injustice and provide a voice for local issues and peoples who are traditionally ignored by national media and canned religious broadcasters.

A radio station ties a scattered population and its towns together to be the united voice of the people in the area. This is democracy in action. Some of the uses of a radio station are:

  • Communicating social programs and services available locally
  • Reaching out to underprivileged, isolated, and especially disabled audiences
  • A reading service for the blind
  • Public debate, social and voting issues, and non-corporate, independent news
  • Local Emergency Alert System (EAS) for tornadoes, wildfires and other alerts.
  • Local issues: urban planning, preservation, water rights, local rights (“local businesses vs Walmart”), City council meetings, stormwater issues, wetlands preservation.
  • Art, poetry, local affairs, and music shows
  • Educational programming of all sorts, including visiting University scholars.

The list is endless. The importance of local radio was featured on PBS’s Bill Moyers (watch clip http://youtube.com/watch?v=EriXIv7LAQo). Amy Goodman of Democracy Now described this FCC application window as “a once in a generation opportunity”: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070807_radio_for_the_people/

The radio station will be able to reach about a 25 mile radius which will be a population of about 150,000 people. The Norman UU Fellowship board has been involved in the licensing process every step of the way and Susan Cogan, the Fellowship President, has been actively involved in planning. We will be making extensive use of volunteers from the UU community and friendly organizations such as the Mainstream Baptists, the Norman Sustainability Network, Millbend Coffeehouse of Northwoods UU Church in The Woodlands, TX, and other members of Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Norman and First Unitarian of Oklahoma City. Others who have expressed interest are Wayne Thompson, President of Oklahoma Health Care Project; James Nimmo and the Stonewall Democrats; Roosevelt Milton, President of OKC-NAACP; Wilfredo Santos Rivera, member OKC Board of Education; JuanitaVasquez-Sykes, President of LULAC; Raegan Smith, PFLAG; several members of Red Earth Chapter of Sierra Club, organizers of Cornbread & Beans Democrat Luncheon and Nathanial Batchelder, Director of The Peace House.

Question #6 (How representative are your volunteers and staff of the communities you work with?)

We have about 250 people from all walks of life who have asked us to keep them updated on our progress and/or given money to the project. Most are from the local area and have expressed an affinity with our concept of locally owned and community oriented radio programming. Over half of these 250 supporters are not Unitarian Universalists and had little knowledge of the UU philosophy prior to being informed of the VOICE of REASON Radio Project. Through this effort, which began in August of 2007, we have already greatly extended awareness of our orientation toward positive, progressive community values.

Question #7 (List the individuals, committees or organizations that have contributed significantly to this project through money or other support. What UUA resources/ departments have been consulted?)

  • Pacifica Radio has pledged to contribute one year of free programming to give us time to develop local programming.
  • Common Frequency, Pacifica Radio, National Federation of Community Broadcasters , and Prometheus Radio Project formed a coalition called Radio for People to answer our questions about applying and putting together radio stations and have walked us through the entire process.
  • We have had nearly $3,000 in small-to-medium sized donations from many people. Many others have pledged non-interest-bearing loans.
  • We discussed the project with the UUA District Coordinator in Boston, Heather Bond. She emailed all the District Presidents about the FCC opportunity and the Norman UU Fellowship’s progress in filing an application.
  • The Oklahoma Media Awareness Alliance has provided monetary support.
  • We have networked with the Ames UU Fellowship in Iowa, which has also applied for an FCC license.
  • Jim Vernon and Kang-Hung Yang have donated their time, sofeware and consulting expertise to develop our Project Timeline (attached.)
  • The Millbend Coffeehouse of Northwoods UU Church in The Woodlands, TX has contributed twice for a total of $500. The organizer, Teresa Allen, has been an avid supporter.
  • Ursula Rudenberg, Affiliate Coordinator at Pacifica, has arranged a weekly phone conference for progressive groups across the nation to share and support one another. We talk every Wednesday at 3 pm Central Time.
  • The Alliance for Democracy has offered a series of 2 minute radio commentaries called “The Tapestry of the Commons” which promote the concept of a common good that we inherit jointly and freely and hold in trust for future generations. http://www.tapestryofthecommons.org/radio/radio_main.html
  • Christopher Maxwell, Pacifica Field Coordinator, Mary Francis, NUUF member, Ron Erickson of Erickson Broadcast Sales in Albany, OR and RF Engineer, Keith Hammond collaborated to create our Phase 2 Budget.
  • Two volunteers and community radio enthusiasts, Jeff Sibert and Jeremy Styninger (both engineers), collaborated with our two paid engineers to finalize our FCC radio application.

Question #8 Please describe your specific plans for raising income in addition to the proposed UUFP grant.)

  • A federal grant, Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), is available for secular radio stations from National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). It provides funding for 50% of the construction cost of studio and tower. NTIA will accept and process applications prior to the FCC’s issuance of Construction Permits. We plan to apply.
  • For other needs such as software and salaries, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has a grant program for which we plan to apply.
  • Pledge drives and grants are the foundation of all NCE radio funding.

Question #9 (Describe your plan for evaluation. Give the criteria/measures/tools you will use to evaluate the success of the project. What outcomes are you working to create?)

Success will be measured in several ways – the most basic would be through public fund drives and audience participation. We will solicit call-in and feedback and will do demographic testing. Our mission – to “provide for the community though service projects and advocating for issues that create greater tolerance, diversity, social justice, and economic opportunity,” will be greatly enhanced by using the public air ways.

Success will be shown by the VOICE of REASON Radio Project becoming a valuable community service in times of emergency such as wildfires, tornadoes, floods or other natural disasters. We will fulfill our goal by providing objective news and high quality information while offering diverse cultural experiences. Our radio station will promote democratic access to public media, which will emphasize and encourage leadership among communities of the central Oklahoma region. This radio catalyst for involvement and the advancement of progressive social change will raise the visibility of friendly venues for community organizers who wish to develop communication networks and strengthen social justice efforts. With our radio station’s ability to coordinate and nurture the broadest possible community involvement, we will assist people in meeting their basic needs and increase their quality of life. This approach will provide an avenue which nurtures and broadens the American conversation on public policy and culture and allows voices to be heard that usually have no outlet. In the long term, we envision this as the beginning of a Community Radio Network which shares resources and programming and renews the idea of the “commons” which fosters community and commitment to each other.

Question #10 (Describe the organization’s or group’s social responsibility philosophy)

The Norman UU Fellowship is committed to act locally whenever possible. We are a small congregation and we feel our focus and impact are greater by working with pre-existing local organizations to make our immediate environment more caring and responsible. Working with a local organization such as Food and Shelter for Friends, for example, allows us to contribute in a direct and meaningful way to the community. Our radio station will help us broaden that focus to include ideas, information and education and will help us expand beyond pure charity work in a way that sustains and develops the inherent worth and dignity of our human community and the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.


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