In March of 2007, the Equity and Technology Research Alliance partnered with Ryakuga Communications and hosted a community radio broadcast in the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. This broadcast was the second of two radio broadcasts funded by an INE Public Outreach Grant which was conceptualized to allow researchers of the “New Economy” to communicate their findings beyond the traditional academic audience; with the first taking place from the cafeteria of Eastern Shore High School in November 2006.
The Wolfville broadcast was a huge success, both in the eyes of those who organized it, and the members of the community who participated and tuned in for the full 5-days.
Additionally, the event was simulcast over the Internet and allowed the broadcast to be streamed anywhere there was an Internet connection.
One of the ways in which we promoted the event was using the power of social networking on the Internet. We incorporated elements of the new “social media” with traditional broadcast; adding interactive blog and photo sharing elements to enhance and encourage community participation. Indeed, people were tuning in and reading about what the Equity and Technology Project was up to from across the planet. The blog was started on March 20th (the day before the broadcast) in eight very short days the blog was viewed 339 times with 743 page views. We were able to share the experience with visitors from not only Nova Scotia, but all across Canada and seven other countries throughout the world.
Many ideas were shared over the days of the broadcast. The content included discussions related to Dr. Looker’s research and conversations about community issues and organizations. In many cases the two overlapped as a consistent stream of dialogue about sustainable rural development, equity, culture and technology flowed throughout the broadcast day. By the end of the five-day broadcast not only had we created a fine discourse about how technology can enhance equity, we had proved it and turned the broadcast into a demonstration of best practice in itself.
The most important aspect of the whole process of the radio broadcast was a sense collective ownership and collaboration; policy officials, community members and organizations, artists, students, local business owners and academics were all participating together. It is important to keep the dialogue that was started running. Even if we are no longer on the air, continue talking and collaborating and listening.