Prosocial helps launch community radio

In summer of 2015 I spent a week at a gathering on Cortes Island, in an archipelago known as the Discovery Islands off the British Columbia coast. You drive three hours up the east side of Vancouver Island (after first getting yourself to Victoria), then take an hour-long water taxi, weaving through channels and straits before landing on Cortes and being driven to Hollyhock, a collection of cabins and meeting halls nestled in tall evergreen forests on the island’s east side.

There were about a hundred people at the gathering, engaged in exchanging a multitude of ideas that were all aimed, from different perspectives, at bringing humans into greater harmony with each other and with the planet. Each morning there was a plenary gathering in the main hall, but the afternoons were given over to free-form breakout gatherings organized by anyone who had an idea or program they wanted to present. There were at least six different venues and two sessions after lunch, so as many as twelve different topics to choose from.

One of the reasons I had come was to talk about Prosocial, so I scheduled a breakout session for the last day of the gathering. A month earlier I’d begun working as Prosocial project coordinator. We’d been developing the website, but it wasn’t quite yet ready for release.

The session was held in a circular timber-framed meeting hall nestled in the woods. It wasn’t a giant crowd, about six or seven people. One, however, captured my attention early on, when she asked if Prosocial could serve as a system of governance for a group. I said it could, and furthermore, that was an aspect of Prosocial that I was particularly interested in myself.

Her name was Marika Partridge, and she explained how her group was launching a community radio station in Takoma Park, Maryland. They were looking for an appropriate and effective method to govern their new organization, and keep their mission on track.

Marika had begun her career in community radio in southeast Alaska, where she’d grown up. She later moved to Washington D.C. and became a producer and director at National Public Radio. She founded Takoma Radio WOWD in 2011. By summer of 2015 they were finally about to get their license from the FCC. They hoped to begin broadcasting by the middle of 2016.