I still remember the first time that I stumbled upon community media television and radio, an experience that completely opened up my world. I heard new music that inspired me, found out about community events that intrigued me and watched local public affairs and artistic programming that informed me about what was happening in my community—all programming that I couldn't find anywhere else. I was, and continue to be, hooked.
In this time of information, community media remains vital as one of the last standing avenues of free speech available to inform, engage and give voice to an area's diverse communities. No strings attached; everyone's invited. Media centers such as our local Community Media Center of the North Bay (CMCNB) serve as a centralized media hub providing media services, equipment, training and opportunities to local residents, educators, organizations, government entities and four community cable public, education and government (PEG) channels. With technological advances, community media centers now also serve as a way to promote community events and information locally and internationally.
Community media benefits our local community in so many ways. I have seen numerous nonprofits, schools and government departments utilize videos created through the media center to apply and achieve grant funding for programs. I have seen people that have been trained at the CMCNB Youth Summer Video Camp go on to a professional career as a videographer. In my experience with CMCNB and new local community radio station KWTF Radio, I have seen countless individuals and organizations intimidated by media technology receive media literacy and technology training, and gain the expertise and confidence to create their own media to share their stories.
We as a community have a lot more amazing stories, information, and ideas to share and we have an amazing place to do it. The future of CMCNB is in jeopardy pending the outcome of the Santa Rosa City Council decisions currently being determined. Let's work together as a community and find a way to keep our community media outlets and center going, help them grow and allow them to thrive.
Desirée Poindexter is a Santa Rosa resident, the admin, HR and PR coordinator for the Community Media Center of the North Bay, and board member of new local community radio station KWTF.net.
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