Sharing Your Love of Technology with Normal People - Prometheus Radio Project Tips

Presented at The Last HOPE (2008), July 19, 2008, noon (60 minutes)

Prometheus Radio Project, based in West Philly, builds radio stations with farmworkers' unions, civil rights groups, neighborhood associations, and others who want to free the media from corporate control. They have built radio stations in Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, and Tanzania, as well as all over the United States. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the one who stole fire from the gods, who had been hoarding this powerful technology, and taught humanity to use it. Representatives from Prometheus Radio will discuss their work building radio stations and fighting to change the laws so that more groups can have access to the airwaves. In this talk, they will particularly focus on their practices in demystifying technology with groups that lack prior technical training. Prometheus has built 11 stations in "radio barnraisings," where over 200 volunteers converge to build a full operating radio station over a three day weekend, with most participants having never touched a soldering iron before in their lives. While focusing on Prometheus' experience with radio, this presentation can be helpful to any nerd who has tried to explain a technical subject to people who lacked technical knowledge or skills. Are there things that geeks can do that can help normal people share our fascination with technology? It's magical when someone who thinks they know nothing about a technology suddenly realizes that they understand it and can use it just as well as the rich and powerful can! Prometheus will share the tricks of popular technical education they've learned over the years.


  • Steph99
    Steph99 is a bike riding, tree-hugging, science-fetishizing, turntable loving Unix geek from Philadelphia. She has volunteered and co-led workshops at several Prometheus Radio Project barnraisings. In January 2007, she joined a crew of PRP and Indymedia folks at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, to share skills and build some radio with independent journalists from all over Africa. She works as a Unix sysadmin and is pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies, which she hopes to use to promote environmental justice and appropriate technology.
  • Pete Tridish as pete tridish
    pete tridish was a member of the founding collective of Radio Mutiny, 91.3 FM in Philadelphia. He is also a founder of the Prometheus Radio Project. In 1997, he was an organizer for Radio Mutiny's demonstrations at Benjamin Franklin's Printing Press - the station broadcast in open defiance of the FCC�s unfair rules that prohibit low power community broadcasting.. He has been an organizer of "radio barnraisings" in 11 communities around the United States, in which a whole radio station is built by hundreds of volunteers in three days. He actively participated in the rulemaking that led up to the adoption of LPFM, and on the lawsuit Prometheus vs. the FCC, which held back a major round of media consolidation of ownership in the United States. He has helped to build a number of low power radio stations and provided advice to hundreds. Pete has done radio trainings in Guatemala, Colombia, Nepal, Tanzania, Jordan, and other countries. He has spoken at colleges, coffee shops, living rooms, and even the CATO Institute. He has been interviewed for many dozens of periodicals, news shows, and documentaries. Over the years he has been a carpenter, an environmental educator, a solar energy system installer, a squatter, a homeless shelter volunteer, and an activist in many social movements since the age of 16.


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