El Centro Cultural de Mexico Seeks Funds to Build a Low Power FM Community Radio Station in Santa Ana!
El Centro Cultural de México is currently in the beginning stages of starting up a low-power FM community radio station in Santa Ana. Hailed by the Weekly's Best Of 2013 issue as 'Best Community Space', the non-profit has hatched a number of grassroots organizations over the years, so why not shake up OC's frequencies too? With the Local Community Radio Act having been signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened a filing window from October 15-29 for free non-commercial, low-power FM radio licenses.
Art by Zuleica Zepeda Liberation Frequency!
"We have everything we need for the application, including an engineer," says Luis Sarmiento, a longtime volunteer with El Centro who became interested in community media working with Colectivo Altepee in Veracruz. "Everything is ready to go."
Assisting in the effort has been the Prometheus Radio Project. The organization of radio activists that started in 1998 has since been a strong advocate for democratizing the airwaves through low-power FM stations in an era of ever-increasing consolidation.
"We have been working for over ten years to pass the Local Community Radio Act," says Ana Martina, Technical Director for the Prometheus Radio Project, who has been working with Sarmiento. "Since the dial is saturated already with so many monopolies and commercial radio stations in all the urban markets, low-power FM was the only opportunity for communities to have access."
The organization deems the current application window a once in a generation opportunity and is acting accordingly. "We also have a program where we have come up with a criteria and are supporting applicants," says Martina. With the government shutdown having affected FCC websites, they will also be calling for an extension.
In the meantime, El Centro Cultural de México fit their criteria as a state registered non-profit with an available frequency in the city of Santa Ana and a committed plan for a station. Last but not least, its vision is compatible with Prometheus' mission of community radio as a vehicle for social change.