Grassroots Radio Conference Coming to Urbana: Hundreds converging July 26-29 to chart the future of community radio.

From July 26-29, the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center will be hosting the Grassroots Radio Conference (GRC), an annual conference celebrating the vibrant and democratic medium of local, community-driven radio. Highlights include a Friday night keynote by New York Times best-selling author Joe Torres, a bus tour of UC2B, Urbana-Champaign’s new public broadband system, and a celebration of WRFU’s new radio tower that will enable the station to reach the entire Champaign-Urbana community. Registration is $125 ($75 low-income) and can be done at www.grassrootsradioconference.org.

“We're calling it 'The Future of Community Radio' because we're at a crucial juncture for radio,” says GRC staff organizer Austin McCann. “Congress passed the Local Community Radio Act in 2010, which means that more than 1,000 new community stations might be going on air in the next few years. Meanwhile, digital technologies have opened up a new frontier for radio stations. What do we want this new media landscape to look like? How can we best use this incredible opportunity to grow our democracy? We want to use this conference as a fun & challenging opportunity to have these conversations while we learn indispensable tools about how to start and run our own stations.” With the rise of digital technology, community radio stations have an opportunity to engage global audiences, deploy mobile studios, share community wireless internet, and become multimedia community centers. Participants in the GRC will chart a vision for community radio as a dynamic community-building tool for decades to come.

The keynote address will be delivered by Joe Torres, activist & co-author of the 2012 New York Times bestseller News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race & the American Media. Friday, July 27, at 8:00pm – tickets are $25 ($10 low-income). The conference will also feature Hakim Bellamy, a nationally acclaimed performance poet, journalist and community organizer who will be performing Saturday night, July 28th – tickets are $15 ($7.50 low-income) sliding scale. Tickets can be purchased at www.grassrootsradioconference.org or at the IMC on the day of the events.

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