Entity | National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Unknown Image

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) is a national, grass-roots, non-profit organization which has served non-commercial community-based radio stations since 1975. There are currently some 170 stations, producers, and organizations in the membership of NFCB, representing diverse communities from remote regions of Alaska to densely populated cities, in markets ranging from Native American reservations to large metropolitan areas.

Community broadcasters first met as a group in the summer of 1973 in Seattle, Washington. Only a half-dozen community licensed stations were on the air at that time. Representatives from those stations, as well as representatives of another dozen groups interested in building stations, were present.

Two years later, the National Alternative Radio Conference (NARC) convened in Madison, Wisconsin. Representatives of some 40 community broadcast organizations gathered to discuss the future of community radio. The group agreed upon the need for a national organization to represent community broadcasters. Only through such an organization could community stations have a voice in national policy concerning noncommercial broadcasting. Several months later, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters was founded. Tom Thomas and Terry Clifford were named to head the new organization, and Bill Thomas was confirmed as head of the cooperative program exchange service. Thomas and Clifford opened NFCB's national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NFCB's initial mission was to develop training manuals for stations, to help stations obtain Federal Communication Commission licenses, to promote the participation of minorities and women at all levels of public broadcasting, and to establish the Program Exchange, a sharing of programming tapes among member stations. Since then, the organization's mission has expanded to promote the ideals and role of community radio in the public broadcasting system, to assist and advocate for the successful operation and funding of local stations and projects, and to facilitate the production of high quality and innovative programming from diverse sources.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, community radio expanded rapidly. NFCB grew along with community radio, soon reaching a membership of 75 stations and broadcasting groups. The Public Radio Legal Handbook and AudioCraft, a production training manual, were published in the late '70s. NFCB was instrumental in bringing people of color into community radio in the early eighties. It organized the first Minority Producers Conference in 1982. NFCB also assisted in the development of national policies to enhance local community stations by helping to make it possible for non-National Public Radio (NPR) stations to receive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

During the 1980s, NFCB experienced several changes in administration. In 1984, NFCB President Tom Thomas and Vice President Terry Clifford both resigned. Later that year, Carol Schatz, former general manager of Bethel Broadcasting in Alaska, became the second president of NFCB. The new president came to NFCB when the organization and many of its member stations were struggling with internal conflicts and financial crises. NFCB survived this period, though staff was reduced from nine full-time employees to four. The Program Exchange was also eliminated.

In the fall of 1986, Schatz resigned. An outside consultant was hired to evaluate NFCB's situation. The consultant described NFCB's future as "in doubt." Lynn Chadwick was chosen as the next president of NFCB in 1987. The period between 1987 and 1990 was a time of reorganization and redefinition for the organization. Due to financial problems, NFCB operated with as few as two staff members at times. In 1987, the NFCB Steering Committee was eliminated and the NFCB Board of Directors was formed.

By 1991, NFCB's financial and operational recovery was well underway. Since then, NFCB has once again become a strong, stable voice for community broadcasters. The organization's membership reached 100 in March of 1994, and has continued to grow. NFCB developed The Healthy Station Project, which was designed to support and create successful local stations. In 1995, the national headquarters of NFCB was relocated from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, California, where the organization combined operations with Western Public Radio.

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters continues to serve its member stations. The NFCB staff is dedicated to representing the views of the membership in such national arenas as the CPB, the FCC, and the United States Congress. NFCB provides information and referral services in all aspects of community broadcasting. Several publications are available through NFCB, including a monthly newsletter. NFCB also hosts an Annual Community Radio Conference, where station representatives can receive training in several areas of broadcasting and can take advantage of networking opportunities.

From the guide to the Records of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), 1975-1994, 1979-1989, (Mass Media and Culture)
Read more at Wikipedia...

Inception: 1975

Alternate Names: National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB)
Field(s) of Work: Community radio
Associated Place(s): United States of America

Appears in: