The following is an argument for the building of a community radio station from a grass-roots movement. The type of community radio station that Omaha needs is a listener-sponsored (meaning the listeners put up the dough for the operations), member-run (this means the mostly non-paid volunteers are doing the bulk of the work, and get the bulk of the input) radio station.
There are already successful models for this type of community-run media in the US. Lincoln, has KZUM, and Madison, WI has WORT-FM. Please take a minute to review WORT's Mission Statement.
One could argue that Omaha has an NPR station, KIOS. KIOS is a wonderful station that provides Omaha with national programming one cannot find on any other medium in this market. However, KIOS has only two (to my knowledge) locally produced shows. KIOS doesn't broadcast DemocracyNow, Free Speech Radio News, or any Pacifica programming, nor does it even broadcast Nebraska Public Radio's news in the Omaha market. Public broadcasting listeners in the state of Nebraska's largest media market can only get their state's locally-produced public broadcast news on the Internet.
The only real medium in Omaha for getting volunteer-produced, truly local/grassroots programming is by paying for a subscription to Cox Cable; whereby, one is able to then view the community access channels. The future of these paid-for channels is dubious as Cox is attempting to reduce the number of channels it's required to give Omaha in exchange for a contract to be the sole provider of cable television in the Omaha metropolitan market. For more information on this, please refer to the great work and effort being put forth by the members who are fighting to maintain Omaha's community access stations: http://standupforomaha.org/.
There is a void in Omaha. There is a void of locally, produced programming, a void of call-in shows for local residents to deal with community events and issues, a void in a broadcast medium for voices Omaha's disenfranchised communities. There is a disconnect between what Omaha's media consumer's receive in regards to state news and the news the remainder of the state of Nebraska is getting via a broadcasted signal. It is time for Omaha to have its own community-run radio station. It is time for citizens of the greater Omaha metropolitan area to organize, and build their own community radio station.
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