I Can't Believe We Actually Did All These Things:
- Hundreds of new community radio stations we have worked with are on the air,
- Thousands of people attending our radio barnraisings have trained and shared their skills in community media,
- A thriving media reform and media justice movement has emerged with our partnership,
- Two successful court cases with our legal partners, halting media consolidation and projecting LPFMs from encroachment,
- Over a hundred fifty staff and interns have come through Prometheus, many of whom have gone on to leadership roles in other organizations,
- Successful advocacy at the FCC on a number of issues,
- And finally, in December the passage of the first media reform legislation in recent memory, the Local Community Radio Act, which will open up opportunities for community radio in the cities.
It has been an incredible 12 year sprint for me, and i don't regret a minute of it. From our unlikely beginnings as anarchist radio pirates, we have gone from lawbreakers to lawmakers. I feel that Prometheus has its greatest challenge just ahead: to scale up organizationally to help hundreds of new stations to start up in the cities across the United States. I feel the organization will be served best by our emerging leadership team as we grow to the next level.
Some Stuff I Never Should Have Ended Up In Charge Of:
Since most of my working life before Prometheus was as a carpenter, I have always been baffled by the strange customs and traditions of the non profit sector. Everyone in DC knows I never quite fit with the DC mindset. And I never gave raising money the focus it needed in order to grow the organization and the movement. I did my best, but fortunately community radio has grown enough that it can field stronger new leaders in my place. I'll best serve everyone by moving towards my bailiwick as a trickster and mischief maker, and away from my weakness as a non profit administrator.
I will not be too far away from low power radio and media and social change. I will remain available as an advisor to the Prometheus team in the coming rulemaking and outreach window, and into the future. But I will be changing my personal focus to some neglected interests that have not been compatible with my responsibilities in building Prometheus organizationally. Some of you may even see more of me than you've seen in years, if you have a project that intrigues me!
And now I'll be shifting gears to do a lot more:
* Community radio and media projects around the world- international work was a distraction at Prometheus but will be a focus for me now. I look forward to spending more time with emerging community stations and media reform movements globally.
* The nascent co-operative business which spun off from former Prometheus staff, interns, and radio station founders: The Babelbox, which makes radios for live simultaneous language interpretation: www.thebabelbox.com
* A year of study, in lieu of graduate school- there's a lot of things I really should be better at by now- Spanish, Electronics, Driving Stick Shift, Swimming, Paper Airplane Making, Touchtyping, Music Reading, Radio Theater, Sheet Metal Fabrication--- you should see my crazy list of things I am going to study this year!
* Providing radio engineering services as a contractor for stations in the US, and alternative energy work- I have not gotten to do much personally on technical projects at Prometheus in years, and look forward to building my technical skills as a radio engineer further.
* Some reflection, teaching and writing, so the hard won lessons from twelve years at Prometheus don't fritter away too quickly.
* General mischief and troublemaking, and reconnecting with the broad social movements I have always supported, but have been too narrowly focused to be active in for many years now.
For the next year, I will be focusing on smaller projects of all sorts. In contrast with my twelve years of commitment at Prometheus, I'd like to do a number of short intensive projects. I've already got a long list, but if you have a project that you think I'd be interested in, it is no longer a given that I am too busy running Prometheus to consider it! You can catch up with me through my new website, www.petetridish.net My first step will be to help out with a few new stations around Honduras starting in February, details are on the new website.
On The Horizon For Prometheus:
I know this may seem abrupt for some of you. I have not shared my plans widely, because I have not wanted to distract community radio's supporters or opponents from the important work of passing the Local Community Radio Act. But we've been building for this moment of transition for a long time. I have total confidence in the new Prometheus team: they will be absolutely ferocious in their struggle for community media. Our collective structure, while not always the most efficient in the quick turnaround decisions, shows its strength in moments like this. We have been training the new leaders of Prometheus for twelve years by involving them in serious, tough decisions at every level of the organization. At this point just about any staff member at Prometheus would make a fine executive director of a more traditional organization.
In place of my de facto ceremonial position in the Prometheus Collective of "Director of Electromagnetism," the leadership team that manages the growing organization in conjunction with our fantastic board will now take center stage. I have been working on barely anything at Prometheus besides the campaign for over a year now, and the organization is fully ready for my departure. If you were going to try to reach me about something Prometheus related, here is who to call as of now. For station support questions, contact Community Radio Director, Vanessa Graber. Broadcast engineering questions go to Technical Organizer, Maggie Avener. Danielle Chynoweth leads Strategic Planning. Stephanie Thaw is our stellar Development Director. For policy questions, please contact Brandy Doyle. Brandy and the rest of the staff are advised by an amazing group of legal and technical advisors to Prometheus, including our board member and telecom attorney Cheryl Leanza, our attorneys at Media Access Project, myself, and a nationwide network of LPFM engineers, attorneys, station managers, programmers and activists.
Our staff is top notch and ready to rumble for a better media. They have exciting challenges ahead as they prepare for and build the next round of community radio stations. If you don't know each of these folks, reach out and say hello! I hope everyone who has supported this organization and me personally over the years will continue to lend your support, wisdom, and soldering irons to the new leaders of this organization.
It's been an honor to serve Prometheus and this movement, and I look forward to doing so in new capacities. I want to thank everyone for your faith in us and your activism in your communities to make a more just media!
ps: firstname.lastname@example.org will still work, but my new email address is email@example.com