Grassroots Radio - Radio for the 21st Century
Name of the initiative: Grassroots Radio
Domain: community radio
Starting year: 2018
Keywords: social innovation; peer-to-peer production; radio; media pluralism; collaboration
The Grassroots Radio project aims to pilot solutions to support community information and deliberation. More specifically it aims to address:
- Lowering the barriers to start and sustain a community radio station;
- Increase the permeability of community radio stations by leveraging existing digital and non-digital infrastructure;
- Create regional and European-wide networks of stations that can pool community-level resources; and
- Co-innovate collaborative media services and business models that are bottom-up and can sustain media and peer-production services in the long-run in line with social innovation principles.
Importantly, the project aims to enable community members, through the use of radio as a grassroot peer production platform, to have a voice on local issues, topics, and concerns of value to them. The project is employing an open platform called RootIO: founded in 2013, RootIO can be used by community members to broadcast over FM using any basic phone. Currently, RootIO is deployed in six rural and remote communities across Ireland, including Bere Island and the Islands on the southwest of Ireland, two communities in the Island of Madeira in Portugal, and two communities in the Danube Delta in Romania. Often called “peripheral,” these communities are typically not considered epicenters of new technology development. The needs for communication are no less in such communities, though they are different. The platform will be designed to scale for use in other urban and rural areas, with the goal of redesigning community radio technology to meet demands of the 21st Century.
Grassroots Radio brings together engineers, social scientists, artists, designers, and communities across nine organisations spanning five countries. The Grassroots Radio project is funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 framework, under the forward-looking Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation Programme.