Oregon farmworkers will build new community radio station

by Tim King, Salem-news.com

Between August 18th and 20th, farmworkers and families and supporters from across the Willamette Valley, the Northwest, the United States and around the world will join PCUN in Woodburn to build an entire radio station from the ground up.

After that will come opportunities for local people to become involved in all aspects of the station’s operation, one of only ten such stations across the nation.

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Oregon's farmworker union and largest Latino organization, is joining a national group called the Prometheus Radio Project that supports and builds stations around the world, to raise their own community radio station: KPCN-LP, 96.3 FM.

"The huge mobilizations this Spring of immigrants have demonstrated more than ever the power of radio," said KPCN Start-up Coordinator Adrian Valladares.

"We believe that people are anxious to hear much more in-depth information and debate about immigration and other topics."

This will be one of the few farmworker-owned community radio stations in the United States, PCUN’s KPCN-LP will produce and air programming that centers around the most pressing economic and social issues, such as labor and immigration, and expresses the vibrant local Latino culture of the Willamette Valley.

“Neither of the two Spanish language radio stations that currently serve Woodburn offer programming in indigenous languages, youth radio, or in-depth public affairs.”

Many people from Central and South America do not speak Spanish, Valladares tells Salem-News.com that English will also be a part of the station’s programming, adding a new way for Spanish speaking people to gain instruction in a subject that has long waiting periods at the local community college.

“Having our own radio station has been among the highest goals of the farmworker movement in Oregon. KPCN-LP will dramatically increase our ability to communicate with our farmworker base in the heart of the Willamette Valley’s agricultural industry.”

A non-profit based in Philadelphia, the Prometheus Radio Project was founded in 1998. Since that time, they’ve been cultivating Low Power radio stations, and believe their listeners are a constituency that can fight for a better and more democratic media future.

To take some of the pressure off the new station, PRP provides technical, legal and organizational training in radio and has organized ten “radio barnraisings” which convene engineers, DJs, activitists, and the local community to literally build a radio station and demystify radio.

Adrian Valladares says KPCN-LP will exponentially expand the diversity of voices participating in the Latino media in the Woodburn area.

“Many are voices never heard on commercial Spanish-language radio, including student-run, indigenous language, and worker-run programs. We call on students, parents, farmworkers, and indigenous people to get involved because this is our radio station."

For more information on the new radio station coming to Woodburn, visit: www.prometheusradio.org

article originally published at http://www.salem-news.com/articles/july262006/new_radio_72506.php.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey