Radio Free Brooklyn is a 501(c)3 nonprofit community organization whose mission is to empower Brooklyn’s underserved local communities by providing active learning in media practices, and to amplify their voices through a global Internet radio platform.
We are a non-commercial community freeform Internet radio station, streaming original content by the artists and residents of NYC’s most populous borough 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Once upon a time, radio was a tool for empowerment, a medium that provided a voice to the unheard and brought communities together. Today, we live in an age in which the media is too often used as a means to constrain and restrict rather than express.
Since our launch in 2015, RFB has evolved from being simply a radio station run by friends into a community organization that provides a freeform radio platform for the diverse cultures that comprise the borough of Brooklyn. Our programming ranges from music of all genres (with an emphasis on local artists), to local politics, LGBT rights, gentrification, experimental radio art, gender issues, food, and more.
Our philosophy rests on three pillars: Community, Discovery and Education. Our objective is to provide solidarity through radio, giving a voice to under-served communities and to become a bridge between them. We focus heavily on live broadcasting as a tool for the discovery of new music and ideas, and our educational initiatives put the tools of DIY radio into the hands of average people with the aim of not only expression, but also increased media literacy during a time when we seem to need it most.
We are inspired by the radio pioneers of the past and gratefully acknowledge their shoulders on which we stand: Radio Caroline, Radio Alice, Steal This Radio, Max Neuhaus, East Village Radio, Joe Frank, WFMU, Napoleon Williams and so many others. Like them, we will strive to broadcast not the commercial dross that clogs the terrestrial airwaves, but original programming as diverse as the programmers themselves – stories, sound art, radical ideation, comedy, sex, and experimentation as yet unheard. We are a community, and all are welcome to participate.
Radio Free Brooklyn was started in May of 2015 by Tom Tenney and Robert Prichard, both veteran performer/producers of the NYC underground performance scene, as a way of continuing to provide a platform for independent artists without being subject to the constraints of the rising costs of NYC real estate. In our first 3 years, RFB has grown from a small Internet radio station with 17 shows operating from the basement of a Bushwick bike shop, to a community organization with over 120 members and over 60 shows, streaming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from a state-of-the-art studio at 100 Bogart Street. Eschewing prescribed formats, RFB allows its hosts complete freedom to experiment with the medium of radio to create what the London Telegraph called “a glowing petri dish of creativity, variety, and counter-cultural energy.” As a community organization, we work with other non-profits to provide them access to local listeners, and our new storefront is being transformed into a community center which will host workshops for local teens, teaching them to use technological tools in order to create their own community media.
What is Freeform Radio?
Freeform is a programming format that grants hosts and DJs total artistic freedom in the creation of their shows. Hosts are not restricted by traditional programming formats or commercial concerns when they are developing their content and playlists. Freeform radio was pioneered in the 60’s and 70’s by such stations as WBAI and WFMU in New York City, KPFA in Berkeley, CA and KPFK in Los Angeles. Radio Free Brooklyn management will never dictate what our hosts can or cannot say and/or play on the network.