C’mon Baby, Do the Localism with Me ... Or, Why Community Media is So Danged Important

I know the news is crazy—and who can keep up? — but I share this tidbit with you to underscore why locally originated and operated media is so incredibly important.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to eliminate the Main Studio Rule. The rule requires each AM, FM and television broadcast station to have a main studio in or near its local community. The notice proposes to eliminate the requirement that the main studio have full-time management and staff present during normal business hours, and the requirement that it be able to originate programming. This is part of a suite of proposed rulemaking by FCC Chair Ajit Pai designed to make life easier for big corporate telecom companies.

Simply put, in a media landscape that is already automated and homogenized, this ruling further releases commercial broadcasters from any public interest obligations in the communities they “serve.” Everything will be done online. If your community has an emergency, good luck getting information through these outlets.

Please, just for a moment, contrast this scenario with what happens all year long at KDRT. Part of a busy and vibrant community media center, KDRT boasts programmers of all ages, playing what they want; highlights local voices, nonprofits and events; and helps local musicians develop audience. KDRT’s volunteers participate in this community, from annual events such as Celebrate Davis, Street Food Rodeo, and Davis Music Festival, to ongoing commitments like Thursday Live! at Davis Odd Fellows, and Second Friday Art Abouts  at Armadillo Music.

Now is the time: KDRT is at risk

I’m proud that we manage KDRT on about $25,000 per year. Most of KDRT’s capital is in its awesome volunteers, which lets us run on this tiny budget. DMA provides a lot of administrative support and a home for the radio station, but its expenses are real: licensing agreements, streaming fees, insurance, rent, utilities.

Here’s the reality: right now, KDRT is at risk. We've been fund raising since March, we are very grateful to our donors this year, AND we still need to raise $6,000 more to meet our $25k goal before June 30. It's hard going this year, but one look at the news I’ve shared underscores the importance of keeping our local institutions strong. And this fund raising is the difference between our community having these services, and not having them. Every year, it's that simple.

For everyone who has ever told me they love Davis Media Access and KDRT 95.7FM now's the time to add your voice in support of solid, vibrant community media, featuring diverse voices in Davis and beyond. $5 or $50 or $500, it matters not, but please add your name to the list of folks who stand on the side of local media, free from corporate interests. We can’t do this work without you.

Yours in community,

Autumn Labbe-Renault

Executive Director

PS: Mina Alali is a former KDRT DJ. We congratulate her on her success!