Date: index | prev | next     Thread: index | prev | next     Author index

Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies
Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, 12 October - 4 December, 1998

[as of December 1st 1998 the forum has been prolonged - ... open-ended]

Subject:An example of practical work
Date:Mon, 09 Nov 1998 23:40
Author:Radio Bridge Overseas  []

This is another contribution from Radio Bridge Overseas in Harare / Zimbabwe. It is meant to focus on ongoing practical work and people who simply try to use what is available. We got permission to publish this example of networking through Internet. It is an effort to use the net for voices which, otherwise, would not have a chance to communicate their messages. It is about the struggle of micro-radio activists in the U.S.A. for their right to broadcast. Additional information can be accessed through links mentioned in this communication.

From:     Self <Single-user mode>
Subject:  Re: RADIO PROJECT REPORT: Our own server! and more...
Reply-to: Date:   Sat, 7 Nov 1998 11:39:43

Hello Lynn,

This is Klaus Juergen Schmidt, Managing Editor of Radio Bridge Overseas in Harare / Zimbabwe.
There is a global debate going on about "Cultural Exchange via Internet - Opportunities and Strategies", based at the Berlin "House of World Cultures". The tendency of submissions seems to be rather theoretical so far, with only a few examples of practical work. I would like to seek your permission to forward your strategy paper to that forum in order to get people more involved into realities of Internet-use with all its potentials and necessary small steps, hoping that some may be prepared to follow.


From:      "Lyn Gerry" <>
Date sent: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 07:12:31 -0800
Subject:   Re: RADIO PROJECT REPORT: Our own server! and more...
Send reply to:

Dear Klaus,

You are welcome to forward my message, although it was written as an internal memo to people already familiar with the project, as opposed to a more general audience. I guess I would have though that people not involved with us might not understand my abbreviated references, but you must be the judge of that.

From:      "Lyn Gerry" <>
Date sent: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 14:16:53 -0800
Subject:   RADIO PROJECT REPORT: Our own server! and more...
Send reply to:

Dear All,

A long overdue report, but i have been waiting for some good news and substantial issues. And we have it!

Some of you may recall that we applied for the NPT project grant back in June with a request for 25K (the grant maximum) for new hardware and funds for training. Though we stayed in the running for a while, we ultimately were rejected. They don't give a reason why, but I suspect our non-establishment organizational structure counted against us in so large a field of applicants. Oh well.

But, courtesy of Alex Carlin and the Carlin Foundation in San Francisco, CA we have been granted the funds (sum of $2000 US) for the purpose of building our own database server, probably the most critical need we have at the moment. And I now have the check in my hands (minus 100 dollars for our fiscal sponsor) and will begin ordering the parts right away. Before I get into the details of that, I'd like to say a bit more about how this grant came to us, because Alex came to usm asopposed to the other way around.

The Carlin Foundation is a family Foundation which was established by Alex's grandfather (or was it great-grandfather) to contribute to worthwhile causes. For some years now, the Carlin Foundation has contributed $2000 to KPFA, the Pacifica station in Berkeley. Because of the changes at Pacifica, which have resulted in a loss of voice for Bay Area communities, expenditures of subscriber donations on union-busting consulting firms and a marked increase in mainstream - NPRlike programs -- and the repeated lies, gag rules, spin doctors and other less than candid means whereby the above has taken place has led Alex, as the Foundation's director to decide to disburse his funds elsewhere. He was referred to us by a mtual friend active in the Pacifica Radio Struggle in the SF Bay Area. Alex said he really wanted to spend Carlin funds on projects where the money would make a real difference, instead of being a drop in the bucket.


We have assured Alex (who doesn't know any of us) that we will keep the box in the SF Bay Area, which works great anyway as David J has offered us his bandwidth, space in his shop and to watch over the machine on a daily basis. So far, we are doing OK with the bandwidth we have, but the furure may bring many new people to this project, as I will explain later.

We habe also reserved the domain for the project and David J is donating an IP number. We will be able with this arrangement, to actually add other servers to the network, no matter where they are physically located. Even if those servers are on other domains, they can be linked as subdomains of This has a number of uses, especially noteworthy being the ability of people out of the US to put up servers more locally, which would give large sound files less distance to travel and hopefully speed download time. Apparently, whileone doesn't notice physical distance when dealing with a tiny e-mail message, it adds up on a 10 MEG audio file.

Technical details and needs

The planned box, which Shawn and I will build then take up north, is to be a 200 MEG pentium with 68 MEGS RAM running under Linux and Apache.

I will now risk a few complaints from NT lovers here, who will wonder why Linux?

Here are the reasons:

1) David J who will do daily admin duties on site refuses to deal with an NT box 2) Linux is free, we have the needed softaware or can get it 3) Linux is in the public domain and its development in the world of software is analogous to our efforts of access and free information exchange here on the Radio Project.

The challenges:

Shawn has volunteered to write a database which will have the sane features as our present database (and will be expanded to add more) using PHP. Anyone familiar with PHP is very much welcome to work on this.

One difficulty yet to be overcome is the transfer of material in the current MS Access database to the SQL database. Shawn thinks there may be a Perl Script package that does this. Does anyone know of one, or is anyone interested in writing one?

Should all this be for some reason impossible, Sun Microsystems is now making their Solaris UNIX free to non-profit orgs and Coldfusion now has a version which runs on Solaris. The question is whether we could get a free copy of that Coldfusion version. I know we have a great many coldfusion programmers on this list now, and since the project started Shawn has also learned it.


For those of you on the project who are aware that there has been a coup and ongoing conflict at Pacifica Radio, you may already be aware that groups like the GNN were formed as a by product of those events. And continuing events re: Pacifica will be relevant to us here.

Pacifica has just announced its hiring of Lynn Chadwick at its new CEO. Chadwick was formerly at the NFCB (National federation of Community Broadcasters) where she was responsible for a program called the "Healthy Station Project" whose aim was to make community radio stations less democratic and grassroots and more under the controll of career professionals and paid consultants. In response to this orientation of the NFCB, which is supposed to be the representative and lobbying organization for US licensed communty stations, a number of stations split off and formed a new organization, the GRC (Grassroots Radio Coalition) which had its 3rd annual conference over the summer. The GRC is committed to volunteer-based communty run radio. And, the GRC has been reaching out to the micropower community radio movement. Stephen Dunifer of Free Radio Berkely was a presenter at the last GRC conference and will be very involved in planning the one for next summer, which will be hosted by WERU in Blue Hill, Maine.

The GRC, many of whom are subscriber stations to Pacifica programming, are really unhappy about being saddled with Chadwick - whose policies they know, and fought off after bitter struggles at many of their own stations. They are really seriously thinking about ways to create their own news cooperatively and to divest from Pacifica when their contracts are up. Pacifica News is really not all that great anyway, it is just one of the few available alternatives to All Things Considered that is produced on a daily basis.

There will be some sort of forum at the next GRC discussing the whys and wherefore's of making this a reality. Shawn and I did a demo on the Radio Project there this last time, and they are aware that the infrastructure for what they want to do is partly in place.

There will be a mail list established to plan the presentation to the GRC - the problems are familiar - many stations aren't up to spped with their computer gear, don't have it, don't have much money, don't know how to use it and so on.

One of the things that will be helpful is a compilation of grants, and other resources for getting free/cheap equipment, discussion of training and tech support, ways to interface with a satellite alternative and so on.

These stations have a year and a half left on their Pacifica contracts, and in that time need to develop alternatives. Some of the stations will not have much work to do on technical infrastructure, some a whole lot.

When the list is set up, I'll let everyone know.


The FCC, in the face of relentless civil disobedience and popular will, has told lawyers from the Committee For Democratic Communications (Free Radio Berkeley legal Team) that they will indeed be publishing a proposal for legalization.

This will put many new community stations on the air, as well as allow the existing ones to concentrate on doing radio instead of protecting their stations and gear against raids and confiscation.

Folks in community Radio need to really work together at this point, because there is a strong lobby which wants micro-power legal so they can commercialize that too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People who want to be more involved with the movement at this critical juncture can subscrine to the MRN list, where strategies for preserving micro-radio as a grassroots and public service medium are being, and will be discussed, Sub to:

I will keep everyone apprised of the progress on the server.

Public PGP Block:


Radio Bridge Overseas
98 Ridgeway North
Borrowdale / Harare
phone / fax : +263 - 4 - 882483

©   Texts are the property of individual authors

Date: index | prev | next     Thread: index | prev | next     Author index

home  |  theme  |  modalities  |  documentation / statements  |  evaluation  |  links

Forum of the House of World Cultures, Berlin, on the use of Internet in the cultural exchange with and between Africa, Asia/Pacific and Latin America. 12 October - 4 December, 1998

Project direction: Gerhard Haupt -
©  House of World Cultures, Berlin. 1998