Rocky Mountain Community Radio (RMCR) is an association of 15 community stations covering the entire state of Colorado. For over twenty years they have been gathering once a year to share stories, information, and resources. I had the great pleasure of attending their gathering November 9-11th in Cortez, Colorado. Hosted by KSJD, 30 people participated from all over the state. They got to enjoy the wonderful facility, newly renovated in the old bank building on Cortez’s main drag, it is complete with the old bank vault converted to a mini recording space for collecting people’s stories (inspired by StoryCorps). KSJD’s General Manager Jeff Pope serves as RMCR’s Board President.
RMCR members have been pooling their money for years to fund a State Capitol Reporter Project called Capitol Coverage . Journalist Bente Birkland produces a daily short feature when the legislature is in session and longer format feature stories in the time between sessions. For Colorado’s rugged mountain geography, this update on the state’s legislature and important statewide issues is a valued and popular service. Member stations also share content from their various news departments creating a regional flavor and offering much needed content to each station’s local news efforts.
With so many troubling indicators and challenges facing our industry these days, it is totally refreshing to hear about the great work community media makers are doing day after day and week after week. Eleven stations have local news programming and pledge drives for most stations were successful this year and ended in record time. Throughout the meeting I heard stories of film making, podcasting, Instagram campaigns, successful sustainer programs, database conversion efforts, and live performances in station owned and operated venues such as KSJD’s Sunflower Theater which is connected to the station (like KVMR in Nevada City with their local theater).
Colorado, California and Alaska have the highest number of community radio stations in the country. Perhaps the rugged geography has something to do with that but one thing is for sure, NFCB’s 40th Annual Community Media Conference in Denver this June will include a robust welcome from Colorado Community radio people that you won’t want to miss.