Passing through Garberville over the holidays, driving north on the Redwood Highway, my family and I caught the first strains of techno music coming in over the airwaves: La Roux's “I'm Not Your Toy,” the first song in that Friday's episode of the South Fork News, a weekly KMUD radio show produced by South Fork High School students. With the help of broadcast journalism teacher Rob Standish, students at South Fork, a small, rural school in the heart of Southern Humboldt's redwood forests, learn interviewing techniques and audio editing skills, and, through their collaboration with KMUD, get to take their education out of the classroom and into a radio station sound booth.

The South Fork News is a perfect example of the value of community media. The show my family and I heard was prerecorded, a half-hour of music meant to entertain listeners while students were home for winter break, but in past episodes, South Fork students have tackled issues including animal rights, teens' relationships to religion, and military recruitment on high school campuses, in addition to showcasing local bands and other creative talents. It's particularly crucial in Southern Humboldt, a mostly rural part of Humboldt County (though really, what parts of Humboldt aren't?) filled with back-to-the-landers, pot growers, and aging hippies, many of whom are distrustful of mainstream media (rightfully so!) and would rather turn to their local community radio station than even turn on a TV. Just look at this scan from the The Independent, a weekly Southern Humboldt newspaper: four out of six respondents identified KMUD or the radio as their primary news source.

Read the rest of the article here on the blog of the National Alliance for Media Art and Culture

As you'll read in the article, Access Humboldt is organizing the Community Radio Day on Saturday, January 29, featuring representatives from the region's non-commercial community radio stations.

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