community-based, non-corporate, participatory media
A Note to our Listeners, Supporters, and the Greater Pittsburgh community
by Rustbelt Radio/The Pittsburgh IMC Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 at 1:49 PM
After years of grassroots reporting including over 300 episodes, coverage of major events like the 2009 G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, presentations to national audiences at the annual Allied Media Conference and more, Rustbelt Radio and the Pittsburgh IMC are facing a gap in volunteer capacity that is preventing the show from airing new episodes for the first time in nine years.
Pittsburgh’s Independent Media Center (IMC) was created in 2003, during a time when many communities were excited about a new model of independent media publishing and the possibilities of amplifying our own stories without reliance on the corporate media. In May of 2004, Rustbelt Radio was initiated as a new project of the Pittsburgh IMC. Inspired by programs such as Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News, Rustbelt Radio was created as a one hour bi-weekly show of “news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.” From its inception, Rustbelt Radio has sought to cover marginalized voices and stories, highlight local struggles while connecting them to larger global justice movements, and serve as an outlet for local activists, projects, and organizers to bring their issues to the airwaves.
Over the past nine years, Rustbelt Radio has operated as a low-budget all-volunteer collective. This has allowed us great flexibility in our organizing model, as we are not obligated to spend exorbitant amounts of time fundraising, nor are we tied down by the constraints of funders or foundations. We have been able to focus on our reporting without any restrictions on the political content of our show. We have built media skills among many community members through our collaborative production process. As with any all-volunteer collective, we face the challenges of maintaining an active core of dedicated volunteers as well as engaging new volunteers with the project to support its growth and vision.
At this point of low volunteer capacity, we have decided to take a break from creating new shows in order to reflect on the future of the project, its role in the community, and the independent/alternative media landscape in the Pittsburgh area. We are seeking community input and feedback as we have always envisioned this project as a community-led participatory project that builds and supports movements for social justice in Pittsburgh and beyond. We are open to adapting and developing the work of the Pittsburgh IMC to meet today’s needs for local independent media, and we are looking to you for new ideas!
We would like to hear from you! As supporters, listeners, people who have been on the show, organizers, activists, artists, Pittsburgh residents, people affected by oppression, gentrification, extractive industries, and police brutality, YOU have a stake in making sure local media reflects the community’s interests, voices and desires. We will be reaching out to people to ask for direct support in envisioning, creating and sustaining this project so that it plays a vital role in the movement for social justice. As we assess the level of community interest and support, we will continue to discuss the future direction of Rustbelt Radio and the Pittsburgh IMC.
Please note that we will not be creating any new episodes of Rustbelt Radio until further notice. Past episodes are available on radio.indypgh.org. Contact us if you would like to share your thoughts and ideas on the show, on media and organizing in Pittsburgh, or your interest in supporting in some capacity. We can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook on our page for Rustbelt Radio. We look forward to hearing from you and working together to produce local media that supports our vision for a better world.
-Members of Rustbelt Radio and The Pittsburgh Independent Media Center