Community radio broadcasting is a special media broadcasting company that is independent from the ownership of oligarchs or any government ownership or shares. Community broadcasting is defined as a broadcasting outlet with the principles of serving the community and its people.
It should be independent in order to avoid the bias from certain oligarchs such as politicians or any government public figures. It takes no prejudice or bias thus, promotes neutrality and on the side of the people whom it wish to serve. Its interest is not for profit but in service for the civil society. That is why it is called “Community Radio Broadcasting.”
Here are some basic ideas of what a community broadcasting company should be like:
When a broadcast company should be grass-root oriented, it simply means that this community based company should take the side of the people and the community. The news that is being broadcasted should be based on the experiences and situation of the civil society. You will often hear a lot of different issues in community broadcasting that tackle and discuss about the human rights of the people, the labor workers’ rights, women’s rights, the advocacies of the students, and the voice of the commoners or those from the informal sector. The community’s participation in these programs re very much highlighted and encouraged since this is a broadcast company established for the people who belong in the middle class and those from the low lying sectors in the community.
Almost all of the broadcast companies claim that they are independent. However, there is a lot of meaning behind independence. This only shows that a genuine independent company should be free from the control of the people who belong in a higher or highest social strata. With this independent principle, the programs that are on air in the radio station would not take bias especially for those oligarch families. The bias is not for those who belong with the bureaucrat capitalists, but those for the masses.
Social Benefit and not for Profit
This kind of principle for community broadcasters comes along with the first two descriptions of what a community radio broadcast media should be. It is probably self-explanatory since this defines how important it is for this broadcasting media institution to do not go after the money but for programs and activities that would support and help the community to participate. Those who often listen to the radio news come from the sectors. Therefore, the media should get their interest by making programs that would catch their attention. For instance, a good example would be having different discussions that will have a great social impact for these listeners who are directly affected by the issue.
So here are some more brief characteristics of a community radio broadcasting company to enlighten you more about it:
1. SELF-DETERMINING AND SELF REGULATING
This means that the broadcasting company should be free from the government and of any commercial, profit-oriented organizations; this shows its independence from the controlling class or ruling sector. It is free from the control of the powerful in the mainstream society. The ruling class in this institution are the civil society or the people itself.
2. SERVE SPECIFIC COMMUNITIES, EITHER GEOGRAPHICAL OR COMMUNITIES OF INTEREST;
It should have a principle of serving specific communities which are highly afflicted by the local or national issues. Coming from its name itself, this is essential to become grass-root oriented and knowledgeable of the problems of the locality in order to come up with programs and activities that would truly serve their interest.
3. HAVE OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THAT COMMUNITY;
A representative from the community or from the locals should have the right to intervene and to have a “say” in the programs of the company. Their ownership is already there in the sense that it should not be governed by those coming from the higher order of social strata. Therefore, the people or the locals have the authority in this kind of institution.
4. OPERATE FOR PURPOSES OF SOCIAL BENEFIT RATHER THAN PRIVATE FINANCIAL PROFIT;
This is not after of the profit, therefore, it should serve its moral purpose and obligation for the people whom it wishes to serve and protect. There are a lot of social benefits that people can get from these kinds of programs. For example, in dealing with the cases of the middle class that they often undergo with especially in judicial processes. There are a lot of laws that can be tackled in the program to give a head start and idea for the people wherein they can learn a lot from.
5. ENABLE PARTICIPATION BY THE COMMUNITY IN PROGRAM-MAKING AND MANAGEMENT
The programs are for the people. Hence, the participation and the involvement of the people from the different sectors would be a great contribution for the company to succeed. The direct and indirect support from the people would surely be the basis of success for this community-serving institution. Their partaking and help is the greatest parameter of whether it has succeeded in achieving its goal or whether it has defeated its purpose of existence as an institution which aims to help others and be after the social morals and service for the civil society.
However, there are a lot of legalities that should be considered when it comes to community broadcasting companies. Just like other mainstream media institutions, it has to undergo legal mechanisms to legitimize the validity of this community broadcasting company. It should be under the law and its due processes or procedures. Since this is a platform where it tackles different issues that are scientific and even discuss matters on legal processes such as in human rights cases, then it is a must. Therefore, the need of assistance from different legal experts should be taken into account.
So if you are interested in creating and starting your own community based radio station, then do not hesitate to contact a Harrisonburg attorney to have a safe and easy transaction on doing the needed and required procedures.