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Radio For The People

by Alex Kiley

“Radio for Milwaukee” is soon to be more than just that little voice of hope in supporters’ ears. Plans have been approved for a group of prominent Milwaukeeans to take over WYMS-FM, currently the Milwaukee Public Schools’ station, and Radio For Milwaukee (RFM) could be riding the airwaves by mid 2005. The school board approved the takeover in a 9-0 vote on Nov. 23. Leaders of RFM are indicating that the station will offer a range of programming, including “under-represented music.” Like its predecessor station, RFM will also continue to broadcast public affairs programming and live School Board and committee meetings. Furthermore, the proposed seven-year contract would provide many opportunities for MPS students to work at the station, or possibly in an Internet broadcast operation that would be almost entirely student-run. With the new arrangement, MPS could save annual expenses ranging from $100,000 to $300,000, the equivalent of the average operating costs in recent years. Like other public stations, RFM would be funded by grants, underwriters and listeners. The project was pushed forward by an initial board of directors, including Riverwester Todd Broadie and well-known musicians Peter Buffett and Joe Puerta, and aided by a six-member initial advisory board comprised of area business and entertainment leaders. This team maintains in their concept statement that under their direction, WYMS will work to promote local arts and culture, enhance MPS student education, attract and retain young workers, and improve racial understanding. For more information about the project, visit the group’s website at www.RadioForMilwaukee.com.
by Alex Kiley