Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Community radio and community events: Takoma (Park, Maryland) Radio broadcasts the Takoma Park Folk Festival

In July I mentioned that Takoma Park, Maryland (also serving parts of DC) and Arlington County now have locally focused low power community radio stations, which was a follow up to another post, "Community vs. corporate radio."  (Radio CPR in DC's Mount Pleasant neighborhood predates these efforts by many years.)

This year Takoma Park's Folk Festival didn't put on its big festival because they are in need of a volunteer reboot, and they didn't have enough people participating to be able to pull it off.

 Rather than cancel the festival completely, they did a small, really small version, on one block of Carroll Avenue in the Old Town Takoma commercial district, at the bandstand/gazebo.

It was pretty low key, with a couple food booths, a tent with tables, and booths for the festival organizers, especially, hoping to get new volunteers and attendance at an organizing meeting to be held on September 20th.  But they did close the street (and mess up traffic).

But also at the "block party" was WOWD-LP FM, Takoma Radio, 94.3 FM, and they broadcast the event live.

I think that is totally cool. Not unlike how the BookTV sub-programming of CSPAN goes around the country and broadcasts from book festivals.

It's tough for nonprofit stations to do more out-in-the-community events, but if anyone is going to do it, what Takoma Radio did, and they've only been broadcasting for a couple months, it's a model.

Similarly, community cable television channels (Takoma Park has one of those too, as do many cities) could do this kind of broadcast as well.  There are a lot more community cable channels than there are nonprofit and/or low power radio stations.

Also see the example of Toronto's CITY-TV ("Don't Change that Channel ... Change the Rules!," Fast Company Magazine, 1996), for a kind of community media approach on a commercial television station.

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