Kate Coyer and Others on Meaningful Research

The Social Science Research Council has published several interesting essays about communication research. http://www.ssrc.org/essays/mcrm/?p=28 The following is an excerpt from the essay by Kate Coyer Community Media: Scholarship, Policy Advocacy, and Power Tools Introduction I was once quoted in a magazine article saying that I never wanted to attend a conference again if it didn’t involve power tools. At the time, I was likely holding a soldering iron in my hand. In my ideal world I would have the time, resources and commitment to be a scholar, a policy advocate, and a community media volunteer. In reality of course my interventions vary in their efficacy. What I do take away from these experiences of helping build (literally) community radio stations with the Prometheus Radio Project and train volunteer producers is what I hope to be a deeper understanding of what goes into building and sustaining independent, not for profit media; what some of the practical research needs are related to increased pressure from funders to measure impact (as well as a desire to better understand one’s audiences and communities being served); and a desire to see the sector grow and evolve. The question is how can I translate this into meaningful research. Background: Low Power Movement and Policy-making The movement for Low Power FM Radio (LPFM) in the United States in the was fought and won by activists with groups like Prometheus and what was then the Microradio Empowerment Coalition with little if any academic research to draw on for support. Many case studies and scholarly pieces have been written about the success of stations on air and the model of communities coming together to collectively build their own stations pioneered by Prometheus called “Radio Barnraisings.” For the rest of this essay go to: http://www.ssrc.org/essays/mcrm/?p=28 Kate and workshop participant in Tanzania. Prometheus Radio Project technicians and trainers joined forces with the United African Alliance Community Center in Imbaseni Village near Arusha, Tanzania