Zapatista Radio needs support

Date sent: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 21:28:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Stephen Dunifer <>
Subject: Zapatista Radio needs support

As part of our ongoing international work at Free Radio Berkeley $1500 was raised to send a complete station package down to Chiapas last week. We hope to raise more funds to send another package soon. We are willing to train anyone who can spend a few weeks at our workshop in Berkeley. They will be taught how to assemble and test transmitters along with learning about how to put a station together and on the air. It is preferable that they already have some sort of technical background to start with. The training is free, and this offer is open to everyone - spend a few weeks in Berkeley, give us a hand in the shop and we will teach you broadcast electronics.

We are sending a four person team to Haiti in April for three weeks. Hopefully we can the same for Chiapas later in the summer. But in the meantime, come to Berkeley for training.

Stephen Dunifer Free Radio Berkeley IRATE


International Radio Action Training Education A Project of Free Radio Berkeley

Since its inception Free Radio Berkeley has sought to break the corporate broadcast media stranglehold on the airwaves and empower communities with low cost, easy to use FM radio transmitters. Although the initial focus was a domestic one it soon became an international program as well. Free Radio Berkeley was approached in the Fall of 1993 to provide radio transmitters to elements of the PRD working in the barrios of Mexico City. Out of this came Radio Televerdad and several other neighbor radio stations. Shortly after this Free Radio Berkeley was asked to supply clandestine transmitters to Haitian grassroots organizations resisting the coup which deposed Jean Bertrand Aristide. In all, about 8-10 transmitters went to Haiti. Following the Zapatista uprising 3 to 4 transmitters were sent to peasant communities in Chiapas. One member of the Free Radio Berkeley staff has made several trips to Chiapas to help with the radio projects. Training at Free Radio Berkeley's technical facility was also provided to representatives from the PRD and a representative from Chiapas. Most recently technical consulting and support was provided to ARPAS, a community radio association in El Salvador.

In November of 1995 Stephen Dunifer from Free Radio Berkeley went to Haiti to survey the situation for the starting of a grass roots radio program with the goal of empowering as many communities as possible with their own low power FM station. As a result of this Radio Timon was established in the early part of 1996. Two more Haitian communities have also been provided with transmitters and associated equipment. During August-September 1996 two young representatives of Radio Timon were given twice weekly training sessions at Free Radio Berkeley's technical facility.

With increasing international work the necessity for developing a more formal program has become apparent. Thus, International Radio Action Training Education (IRATE). With proper funding and resources a full training, education, and technical implementation program can be developed to not only provide the transmitters and related equipment but the know-how to manufacture, repair, set-up and maintain radio transmitters and stations.

Low power grass roots FM stations serve a variety of purposes and aid very greatly in fostering community democracy. In addition to serving as a local bulletin board and telephone they form the cornerstone of literacy and educational projects for the community. Further, they are an outlet for cultural and artistic expression within the communities they serve. Since the beginning, Free Radio Berkeley has been designing, developing and manufacturing FM radio transmitters both in kit and assembled form. By the use of off-the-shelf technology and common electronic components Free Radio Berkeley has been able to bring down the cost of a low power FM station (20-50 watts) to between $1000 and $2500, depending on audio equipment used.

Presently, this work is being done on an ad hoc basis. With proper funding and support we can create a permanent and ongoing program providing training and technical assistance for the development of grass roots community radio in as many countries as possible. If you can help in any way toward the realization of this project, please contact us.

Free Radio Berkeley
1442 A Walnut St.
#406 Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 464-3041
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