Grassroots Wavelengths – Highly Networked Grassroots Community Radio through a scalable digital platform
Grassroots Wavelengths is a CAPS initiative that reuses and recycles an old but valuable form of media — FM radio. The project is built on research that has created small, inexpensive, and highly connected micro FM stations perfect for a coastal community, an alpine village, or an urban neighborhood. Supported by cloud data and telephony, the stations serve as an agora; an information platform for civic discussions and coordination. The stations can produce “network effects” through their technical and community interconnection.
Radio is immersive: what can be nicer than music and conversation? It is a community touchstone — unlike the silos of social media — offering a common point of discussion and a common site for deliberation. It is free to receive, has very low operating expenses (OPEX) compared to many other forms of media, and does not require specialized community skill to create content. In times of need, radio is robust: radio stations stayed on air after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, even as the more complex technologies failed, and mobiles ran out of charge, saving countless lives in coordinating and informing the public.
For all of these reasons, community radio remains extremely relevant around the world, even as proprietary, monopolistic, for-profit enterprises like Facebook have moved in.
Project lifetime: Jan 2018 – end of Jan 2020