"It's not true I had nothing on. I had the radio on" -Marilyn Monroe
July 29, 2007 6:24 PM   Subscribe

How to start a nonprofit media organization? (books, guides, personal experiences, etc).

Crazily enough, after asking the great hivemind about a greatly broad subject, a specific, narrow opportunity found me.

I've always been interested in the LPFM movement on an intellectual level; wrote my thesis on community radio models, worked with Free Radio Berkeley, and for my local pirates . I've always had a dream to start a local, grassroots, community radio station in a particular small town, but that's all it's really been- just pipe dream.

However, through a series of strange, random, odd and reoccuring meetings and contacts being made in the last few weeks, it seems as though there's an strangely huge ammount of support behind the idea to start a low power FM station in this town...everyone who has talked to me is either insanely excited, or insanely excited with a few logistical reservations. A buzz is growing in several, unconnected circles in this town about the idea. I am throughouly stoked about this prospect, and since i don't have a 'real job' yet, and am fresh out of college, it seems like an excellent time to undertake this project.

I've worked with community groups, radio stations, and nonprofits before. I also have experience grantwriting for a public school system (and have been told it's a bit easier for Nonprofits), so funding isn't that scary to me. We have the support of several amazing musicians, sound engineers and web developers willing to help us in any area they can, and poeple are starting to ask me how they can help start this project like i know what i'm talking about.

Problem is, I just don't know how to get the ball rolling legitimately. I'm scheduling a community meeting for mid-september for anyone who's interested in participating in the project and i want to have a skeleton started to work off of...i've got fairly rough 1, 3, and 5 year plans in paragraph form (enough detail for grant proposals, and optimmistic-but-realistic based on other lpfm's i've studied). I just have no experience starting a 501c3, or any other type of nonprofit.

Any ideas on books or other material on how to start a nonprofit? Personal stories? Government resources? Good foundations to approach? HELP!

AND, finally, if you are in portland oregon, i'd love to buy you a coffee or a beer and talk face to face with you about your nonprofit-starting-experiences, feel free to hit me up at Furnace.heart AT gmail DOT com.
posted by furnace.heart to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Prometheus Radio Project is very much along the lines of what you invision. They have a page where they talk about low power fm stations and their experiences with getting started.

I have also read a lot of materials from A. Goodman on nonprofit advertising and marketing. Many of their publications, like these, are free and it's really good stuff.
posted by The Straightener at 8:40 PM on July 29, 2007

If you really want to know how a nonprofit radio station works, contact the folks at KEOS 89.1 FM in Bryan-College Station, Texas. KEOS is a nonprofit, non-commercial educational radio station that began broadcasting in 1995. It is completely locally supported by members and volunteers, and its programming is superb. (I lived there a couple years ago and listened only to this station; other stations in town were mainly country or hard rock.)

KEOS folks to e-mail or chat with: John Roths, music director and member of management committee; Robert Borden, board president; Naomi Giroux, volunteer coordinator. E-mail them at keosfm@gmail.com; phone number (if you like the long-distance calling thing) is 979-779-5367; fax is 979-779-7259.

Good luck, and let us know how your venture goes!
posted by Smalltown Girl at 9:01 PM on July 29, 2007

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