Community Radio


Media experts from Canada, the Philippines and USA states – California, New Jersey, New York and Texas, presented methods for how to create and run a community radio station during a panel discussion and workshop at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference on Monday, August 26 2019 at Salt Lake City.

by Nancy Cohen

The 90-minute workshop, organized by IAWRT-USA in collaboration with Zonta International and Austin Airwaves, demonstrated methods for designing, building, operating and programming community radio stations to benefit the whole community.


Peggy Berryhill, Founder and board member of KGUA-FM, Gualala, California, and founder of Native American Media Resource Center, led off by talking about how community radio has helped with the devastating 2017 October fires in California, where their volunteer radio station was the only source of communication. She also discussed the importance of maintaining Native owned stations.


Frieda Werden, co-founder of WINGS – Women’s International News Gathering Service gave a full history of the dearth of woman’s issues in radio and how she and Wings have worked to change the balance, distributing woman’s stories to the world for the past 33 years


Pamela Morgan, a United Nations representative for Zonta International and co-founder and Executive Director of Women-in-Media-Newark, talked about working with youth and women across the country to use the mobile phone to tell stories. Their cell phone cinema contest identifies a global problem and asks young people to respond with a 7-minute video, thus alerting young people to the world and giving them a tool to express themselves.


Jim Ellinger, Founder of Austin Airwaves and founder of KOOP Radio has travelled the globe keeping radios on the air after disasters and gave instructions on how to build a station using basic communication tools.


Jola Diones-Mamangun.  President of IAWRT-Philippines Chapter & Executive Director, Kodao Productions talked about the typhoon Yolanda disaster and the use of narrow-casting to broadcast without a transmitter. She shared how working in community radio has helped victims of disasters deal with PSTD as well as building communication skills.


There was a lively discussion with audience members when the moderator Sheila Katzman, President of IAWRT-USA opened the floor questions.


The United Nations 68th Civil Society Conference from August 26-28, 2019 is the premier event for civil society organizations.


This year’s conference focused on UN development goals of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. IAWRT-USA is one of the 14 chapters of the IAWRT and is on Facebook. Extended biographies of speakers attached below.