Radio isn’t dead and G-town Radio‘s Jim Bear would be one of the first to tell you it.
Reverberating from Maplewood Mall in northwest Philadelphia, “the sound of Germantown” is growing. The Internet-only radio station has been building off a recently awarded $7,500 grant from social justice resource Broad and Roses Community Fund.
The money will fund a high school youth radio project, community forums, a series of audio profiles of interesting citizens and a new political talk show based around Germantown policy issues. The organization also hopes to put the finishing touches on a Web site redesign, improve studio space and purchase new audio equipment.
It’s not a lot of money, for sure, but it is proof that the community is interested in G-town, Bear said in a phone interview with Technically Philly.
“It really helped legitimize what we’re doing,” he says. “To have this input from outside resources helped make people feel more confident in what we’re doing.”
The new projects are a result of a civic-oriented programming pitch that G-town made to Bread and Roses. The organization will teach select students at Germantown Friends School about radio production for the Web in a three-month program, Bear says. It will also organize programming and events around policy issues in the neighborhood: community town hall forums that will be broadcast live online on a weekly or bi-weekly Web show that will spotlight neighborhood issues.
“Were going to bring someone in to talk about [issues] and put people on the record. We’ll hopefully get some results out of it,” he says.
G-town hasn’t generated revenue yet, but Bear says that the grant puts the organizationï¿½which is nonprofit but hasn’t yet filed for federal tax exempt status because of costï¿½closer to that goal.
G-town Radio isn’t alone in the quest to provide important community coverage in the neighborhood.
Since we wrote about G-town in our Technically Not Tech feature series in May, the media hole left by the closure of the Germantown Courier and the Mount Airy Times Express was filled by a generous donation.
After their closure, Mt. Airy businessman Jim Foster sought financial backing from the First Presbyterian Church, receiving a $100,000 loan to set up the Germantown Chronicle and the Mt. Airy Independent, Church Executive reported earlier this month. The papers have published weekly to 36,000 homes since April 30.
Still, Bear says that they can’t do it on their own, considering they have one-person editorial staffs.
“There’s only so much you can do with one person. “You can’t really carry the torch with specific issues all the time because there’s too much other news to cover,” he says.
Bear is looking forward to fourth generation wireless broadband services like Clearwire, which is set to launch in Philadelphia Oct. 1. High-speed wireless technology would be a “game changer” for organizations like G-town, he says, improving remote broadcast possibilities and giving higher quality access to online radio while listeners are mobile.