A new book chronicles “the practices of an activist organization focused on LPFM” during the first low-power licensing window at the turn of the century. Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism is written by Christina Dunbar-Hester, a professor of Journalism and Media Studies in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, where she is also affiliated faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies. She is also a long-time friend of the low-power FM movement.
Despite its origins as a pirate broadcasting collective, the group eventually shifted toward building and expanding regulatory access to new, licensed stations. These radio activists consciously cast radio as an alternative to digital utopianism, promoting an understanding of electronic media that emphasizes the local community rather than a global audience of Internet users.
In this study Dunbar-Hester examines how political beliefs are expressed though people’s engagement with technologies, and offers insights into media policy that are especially relevant as thousands of new LPFM stations go online.
I’ve read some of her earlier scholarship around LPFM and radio (some papers are available online via her website), so I am excited to read this fuller treatise.