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If you’re looking for ways to publicize your effort I would try brochures, letters, and your local newspaper.
We found that giving out brochures at community events (even before we were on the air) generated a lot of interest. Just remember to ask for a donation somewhere in your brochure. Be sure to send letters (as personalized as possible) to community groups, clubs, organizations, etc. and tell them what you want to do and how it will help the community…something along the lines of “by working together we will bring our community together” type stuff. Mention that you want to know of their activities for promotion on the air and that perhaps they might have some ideas for programs or volunteers for your station. Again, ask if they could make a donation to make the dream of community radio a reality for the benefit of everyone. Also be prepared to do some guest speaking at various meetings or clubs. It does make a big difference.
Be sure to take brochures and possibly some descriptive flyers to area businesses so they can give them to customers. I don’t know if program underwriting is allowed in Canada, but if it is be sure to let the businesses know of the “opportunity”. We had vinyl door stickers printed up (about twice the size of a business card) that say “We support local community radio and you should too.” We try to get businesses to put them on their doors for maximum exposure.
And don’t forget the local newspaper! Contact the editor and let them know what’s going on. Again there is an opportunity for excellent free publicity, a possible news source, and maybe even some donations. Our local newspaper is a weekly and comes out on Thursday. By working with them we do radio reading for the print handicapped of the newspaper on Mondays. We get great material without affected their newstand sales and they reach people who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to enjoy the paper.
We have found radio workshops to be immensely popular. We’ve had them on producing programs, features, news items for broadcast. We’ve also had some technical workshops where we repaired some older equipment and even made our transmitting antennas (Thanks to the info on this website). Of course we didn’t turn anyone away, but we had a suggested donation for participating in the workshops. (We even got some donated equipment from participants).
All of this helped promote the station, provided funds for equipment and operation and got a great bunch of people together.
As much as I would like to take credit for these ideas, every one of them (and more) are available on this website. You might also want to check out organizational information on prometheusradio.org’s website as well.