This summer 106.5 FM is expected to come alive when WPPM-LP begins broadcasting and streaming. The call letters “WPPM” stand for “People Powered Media.” The station will be known as PhillyCAM Radio [link].
WPPM is a creation of Philadelphia Public Access Corporation – aka PhillyCAM. It is a non-profit organization that operates public access cable TV channels for areas of Philadelphia served by Comcast. PhillyCAM’s funding comes from cable access fees paid by Comcast subscribers. According to its IRS 990 filings, PhillyCAM received around $1.1 million in 2014. It began operations in 2009.
In January 2015, PhillyCAM won FCC approval to construct a new station on 106.5 FM. Since then the organization has been working on the essential elements of broadcasting: developing programming, training volunteer producers, establishing operational procedures and fundraising. Lots of fundraising.
PhillyCAM is currently conducting a crowd-funding campaign via Generosity [link]. As of today, the campaign has brought in $2,382, 12% of a $20,000 goal.
To support the fundraising campaign and build awareness of 106.5 PhillyCAM produced an excellent video about PhillyCAM Radio, its mission and the people behind it:
LINK TO VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/167804395
PUBLIC ACCESS OR PUBLIC BROADCASTING?
PhillyCAM’s cable TV programming is “public access” not public broadcasting. This means they have an open door policy where almost anyone in the community can do a TV show. PhillyCAM calls this an “electronic park” where people can share just about anything that interests them – arts and culture, sports, cooking, religion, education, local issues, national news, health concerns, etc. PhillyCAM also provides training, tools and online platforms for community members.
The Executive Director of PhillyCAM is Gretjen Clausing. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WHY PhillyCAM IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MOST LPFM STATIONS
First, it has huge potential because of its location. LPFM stations are not typically found in the downtown of a large city. WPPM’s transmitter will be broadcasting from Philadelphia’s Center City. 106.5’s 90-watts will provide coverage to folks within a 5 to 10 mile radius. An estimated 800,000 people live, work and play here. With online and mobile streaming, WPPM can reach a nearly limitless audience.
WPPM is not on the air, so it doesn’t yet have a coverage map. The slide at right shows the location of its transmitter. If you know Philadelphia, you can image the potential.
Do the people who run PhillyCAM realize the value of this FCC license? It could be worth A LOT on the open market. We are talking about six figures, maybe more.
So, what are they going to do with this valuable resource?
PhillyCAM Radio is now in its pre-sign on utopia phase when everything seems possible. The station website promises local news, alt rock, talk shows, comedy, sports, health, theater, sci fi and local government meetings – everybody has their say and (literally) every dog has its day.
In other words, PhillyCAM Radio may be a radio version of cable TV public access programming. This might look feasible on paper but in reality it is a road to nowhere.
I even saw a couple of bloggers speculating that PhillyCAM Radio will be “like Pacifica.” I hope this isn’t true. Those who emulate Pacifica are likely doomed to the same fate as Pacifica: irrelevance, possible bankruptcy and endless expensive and gut-turning litigation.