Narrowcasting To The Neighborhood: Radio Nopal Gives Everyone The Mic
Once upon a time in the 1960s, one of our Awesome team was part of a group of high school kids who had a little radio station in Arnie’s basement*. We broadcast to neighbors for about a mile around. Anyone could do it, the equipment was cheap. It was great fun broadcasting local news — like, REALLY local — and giving all the neighbors a chance to have their fifteen minutes of radio fame. No wonder we think Radio Nopal is awesome! Same idea, except on the internet, in Mexico City.
Broadcasting live daily from San Rafael (founded in the 19th century, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city), Radio Nopal currently features almost 40 hosts, from 21 to 60 years of age, two more women than men. And, they’ve created their own open source technology to broadcast– read about mensajito (“tiny message”) in Spanish or English.
Adding on to this inclusionary start, Radio Nopal wants to invite the people who live in San Rafael to be part of the programming. They’re open to everyone’s ideas, music, poetry, activism. The latest outreach is a “Telephone Shout-Out Barrio Machine,” something they designed to build using a vintage telephone and modern technology. The telephone will be outside the radio station during the day so that anyone who passes by can leave a message, allowing the community to shape the content that airs.