One-Question Q&A: Vanessa Graber, Prometheus Radio Project
Over 300 community members and public media organizers from around the country gathered together in Hudson, N.Y. for Prometheus Radio Project’s 12th barnraising. By all accounts, the event was a huge success. A diverse group of community radio people – educators, activists, engineers, station members – came together to share knowledge, bond with peers and build a radio station from the ground up. There were workshops that covered topics such as radio production, technical and station organization issues, and community organizing. And on September 26th after three days of cabling, lifting and hammering, WGXC 90.7 FM was ready to hit the airwaves, a station which now reaches nearly 80,000 listeners in two New York counties.
I’ve recently I had the chance to talk to Vanessa Graber, Prometheus Radio Project’s Community Radio Coordinator who helped organize the WGXC barnraising.
What made WGXC’s Radio Barnraising a successful event?
Vanessa Graber: It was not wonderful weather and picturesque views of the Hudson Valley fall landscapes that made WGXC's Radio Barnraising a huge success, it was the people. Building radio stations often involves more than just setting up transmitters and antennas. It takes an entire community to support the station and get it on the air. Similarly, radio barnraisings are people-powered events that require contributions from hundreds of persons in order for the event to go off with out a hitch. Seeing diverse groups of people including folks from different parts of the US, newbies and veterans, as well as a representatives from a variety of minority groups working together to build the station and share knowledge was truly remarkable. These activities were illustrative of the many ways participants of the barnraising put community into action. Participants come to help get the host station on the air, but more importantly they come to meet other radio pioneers that share their interest and passion for community radio. If community radio geeks could have a holiday, it would certainly be celebrated with a barnraising. The success in this barnraising is that people left with the vision, inspiration, and tools to carry this on in their own communities.