There’s a New Public Radio Exchange for Programming, but a Superior Grassroots Exchange Pioneered the Concept 8 Years Ago

Slashdot takes note of the relatively new Public Radio Exchange, which provides an on-line sharing resource between radio producers and stations. While not a bad idea, this is public broadcasting, so participation is not free–producers pay $50 – $150 a year, and stations, obviously, pay more. The up side is that producers can get paid for their work.

However, a superior grassroots radio repository has existing for years, in the form of the A-Infos Radio Project. This non-profit project has been accepting uploads of broadcast quality mp3-encoded programs since before mp3 was something even your grandparents knew about (that would be around 1996). At this point there are almost 10,000 high-quality independently produced programs, the vast majority of which are free to dowload and air for non-profit purposes on non-commercial stations.

The IMC Radio Network has been performing a similar function for several years now by providing both an upload and download space for programs and by compiling a constantly updated list of audio available at other IMC sites, via their .rss feeds.

The A-Infos Radio Project, especially, has been a lynchpin in the growing grassroots radio community, by connecting up stations that used to only be able to share programming by sending tapes through the mail (called “bicycling”) or connecting to satellite services through the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) or Pacifica. Bicyclicng and satellite have been fine options for established community and public stations, but often way too expensive for smaller community, college and unlicensed stations.

Both A-Infos and IMC Radio are notable in that they don’t care whether stations are licensed or not, or where they’re located geographically. As an independent radio program producer, both of these sites have proved to be invaluable resources for sharing information that would never otherwise get out past the limits of one radio signal.

For kicks, you can check out some programs I’ve uploaded to A-Infos, going back to 1999.