Some Press for Radio Free Urbana, an Experiment in Collective Community Radio

As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, the Urbana-Champaign IMC is working to get a new licensed low-power FM stations off the ground here, called WRFU, or Radio Free Urbana. The license was granted to the Socialist Forum of Champaign County, which is a non-sectarian advocacy organization, largely due to the efforts of Mike Lehman, who is also one of the founding members of the U-C IMC. Mike kept up with the paperwork even after it looked like Urbana would have no open LPFM frequencies, and refiled when a frequency opened up.

From the start of the U-C IMC, we imagined that if the LPFM license came through–and at that time in 2000 there were several organizations also applying–the IMC would be the perferct venue to host the station, especially since the SF didn’t envision itself being the sole proprietor of a radio station.

At the beginning of June we held the first big public information meeting for WRFU and got many more people on board to help raise the initial funds we’ll need to put the station on the air and get organized.

The student-run weekly paper here, the Buzz, just ran a nice article on WRFU, which I hope will stimulate more interest.

Mike and Drew, who is also the producer of the mediageek radioshow give some very articulate explanations of how the station will run. We plan to operate the station as a true collective, under consensus, and I think we’ve found an innovative way to organize how airtime is divided up and programmed.

It really is an experiment in a different way of doing community radio. I really do plan to write more about this approach and give some context and explanation. In the mean time, you can read the RFU organizational structure, which puts down the parameters for how we imagine the station will run, and the FAQ which puts some of this into more plain English prose.