Grassroots Radio Coalition
The Grassroots Radio Coalition is a coalition of community media activists. The GRC has a mailing list and holds a conference every year, but has so far not incorporated. There are no dues, no hierarchy and no bylaws. At the GRC11 in 2006, conference attendees decided to establish a steering committee to help coordinate coalition issues.
More than audio outlets, volunteer-based community radio stations are cultural institutions in their communities, reflecting the unique concerns and passions of the people who live there. With a system of governance based on openness and collaboration, and diverse programming produced by volunteers and funded by listeners, these stations are cornerstones of participatory democracy, offering ordinary citizens the chance to exercise First Amendment rights in a mass medium and audiences the opportunity to directly support the programming that is of importance to them.
The Grassroots Radio Coalition was born in 1996, as a reaction against increasing commercialization of public radio and lack of support for volunteer-based stations. Though not "founders" per se, Marty Durlin of KGNU and Cathy Melio of WERU are generally recognized as "midwives" of the GRC. They have said that the idea of the GRC was ready to be born; they just helped make it happen.
Conferences have been held each summer since 1996, organized and hosted by one or two grassroots radio stations or organizations each year.
- 1996 - presented by KGNU and WERU, hosted by KGNU in Boulder, Colorado.
- 1998 - presented by KGNU and WERU, hosted by KGNU in Boulder, CO from July 23-25.
- 1999 - presented by KGNU and WERU, hosted by WERU in Bar Harbor, Maine from August 20-23.
- 2000 - hosted by WORT in Madison, Wisconsin in July 2000.
- 2001 - hosted by KGNU in Boulder, CO from July 13-15.
- 2002 - hosted by WJFF in Jeffersonville, NY in August 2002.
- 2003 - hosted by KZMU in Moab, UT from June 12-15.
- 2004 - hosted by KCSB in Santa Barbara, CA from June 24-27.
- 2005 - hosted by Prometheus Radio Project in tandem with a barnraising for WXOJ-LP, a new station in Northampton, MA, from August 5-7.
- 2006 - hosted by WORT in Madison, WI from July 28-30.
- 2007 - hosted by WUML in Lowell, MA from June 21-24.
- 2008 - hosted by KBOO in Portland, OR in July.
- 2010 - hosted by KMUD in Redway / Garberville, CA May 13-16.
- 2011 - hosted by KKFI in Kansas City, MO August 18-21.
- 2012 - hosted by WRFU-LP and Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center in Urbana-Champaign, IL July 26-19
- 2014 - Hosted by KHOI in Ames, IA August 14th-17th
- 2015 - Hosted by WLPP-LP in Palenville, NY September 24th-27th
- 2016 - Hosted by KUHS-LP in Hot Springs, AR October 7 - 10
- 2017 - Hosted by WCAA-LP in Albany, NY October 6-9
At the GRC11 in Madison, WI, conference attendees decided to create a steering committee to help coordinate discussions, assist in conference planning, and maintain institutional memory. The concept of the steering committee is in line with the GRC's decentralized, grassroots nature. Though there is no minimum or maximum number of members of the steering committee, it was agreed that it should include representatives from stations who have hosted past GRC conferences, representatives from future GRC conference hosts, and representatives from the People of Color caucus.
People of Color Caucus
The People of Color Caucus is a loose group of producers and activists in the coalition. The People of Color Caucus holds meet-ups at the summer GRC conferences and undertakes initiatives to help increase the racial & ethnic diversity of the coalition and conference attendees. The People of Color Caucus raises funds for and administers the "Solidarity Fund" - a scholarship fund to assist low income people of color to attend GRC conferences.