Producing a daily, grassroots and nonprofit with an international scope is not an easy business. Free Speech Radio News has been pulling it off for more than a dozen years, since Pacifica Reporters Against Censorship went on strike from the Pacifica Network and turned their efforts to an independent, collectively run newscast.
While FSRN is independent, it’s still heavily reliant on the perpetually embattled Pacifica Foundation for much of its funding. On its website FSRN says, “A major funder is suddenly unable to meet its contracted obligations to pay us.” So, unfortunately, once again FSRN is facing a shortfall, needing $75,000 by June 30 to keep the program on the air. As of Wednesday they were 40% of the way there, with about $30,000 donated.
Unlike many other syndicated public radio shows, FSRN is very flexible in making the show available to community stations at whatever funding level they can afford. Frankly, $75k isn’t that much money, especially for a program heard on 114 stations. For Pete’s sake, that kind of money barely funds the Car Guys’ laugh-track budget for one week. Yet, that sum will help FSRN produce a daily (not weekly) half-hour, featuring truly local on-the-ground reporters around the world. Therefore I sincerely hope that community radio listeners and supporters can come together to help keep FSRN going.