Community Radio

In an era where the internet is perceived as the hero of a lifetime, the radio manages to survive, keep its balance and get closer to the populace. Wikipedia defines Community radio as a radio that serves communities and especially communities of interest. They broadcast content that is relevant and of interest to the target community. Modern community radio stations serve their listeners by offering a variety of content that is not necessarily provided by the larger commercial radio stations. Community radio outlets may carry news and information programming geared toward the local area (particularly immigrant or minority groups who are poorly served by major media outlets). In the U.S, there are ethnic oriented stations, given the fact that it is an increasingly diverse country that counts people from various races and ethnicities. The Latinos or the Afro-Americans in the U.S have their own radio stations, in which they manage to reflect social and political concerns, as well as diffuse things of the community’s common interest, such as music, sports and entertainment programs. These stations share a common feature: they are free in the sense that they are different from the mainstream ones, which mainly focus on public debates and general topics. Community radios are also close to their audiences, because they use one common language, which helps them unit, represent their culture and form a community. Another example can be the community radio station in Guatemala. ‘Owned and run by the community, Indigenous community stations are uniquely qualified to choose content representing their interests and cultural norms. Community radio stations strengthen social and economic ties by involving local leaders and community organizations to speak on radio programs. The opportunity to speak Mayan languages over the radio while discussing Mayan issues reinforces pride and interest among the community in maintaining their culture in the face of strong assimilationist pressures. However, depending on its particular situation and history, each station has unique strengths and weaknesses. For example, the ‘Xobil Yol’ station has an effective board of directors, but difficulty with youth participation. Each independent and autonomous community radio station has something to teach and something to learn from other stations. This is where Cultural Survival comes in’. ‘Nonprofit community radio plays a critical role in the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people in Guatemala. Francisco Xico, a Mayan priest who volunteers at his local community radio station says, “The radio helps keep our culture and language alive.” As Cultural Survival staffer Ancelmo Xunic says, “It is by the community, for the community.” Community radio volunteer Angelica Cubur Sul says, “As an Indigenous women, I can say that the community radio is the only place that I can express my views and opinions and be sure that they will be heard by the entire town. The Mayor expresses his opinion on our radio, so do the police, and so do I.” (http://www.culturalsurvival.org/grp)