Chris Csíkszentmihályi is European Research Area Chair at Madeira-ITI. He founded and directed the MIT Center for Future Civic Media (C4), which was dedicated to developing technologies that strengthen communities. He also founded the MIT Media Lab's Computing Culture group, creating unique media technologies for cultural and political applications.
Technologists tend to make the mistake of viewing advances as teleological. The trajectories of technologies are in fact far from linear, and (to paraphrase Gibson) not evenly distributed. RootIO is a networked system for most of the world, where FM radio is a vital, affordable, and central means of communication. Taking the success of community radio in places like Brazil, Mexico, and Cote d'Ivoire, and adding contemporary communications technology to bolster it, RootIO dramatically decreases the operational and capital expenses of a station. This in turns makes running a radio station easier for smaller, more remote, or less wealthy communities. RootIO stations have been run in Uganda, and are being launched in Cabo Verde, remote Irish islands, and the Danube Delta in Romania.
This workshop introduces participants to the RootIO platform, and takes them through the steps of creating a station. Please note that FM is highly regulated in most countries, so we cannot guarantee that any participant could immediately go out and create a station. However, regulators have embraced RootIO as a highly transparent and bottom-up form of communication: Romania granted the first two licenses in the history of the country to RootIO stations, and Uganda is in the process of issuing ten new licenses for RootIO stations.
Starting with an Android phone (which becomes the core of the station), through antenna hacking (from commonly available agricultural parts), to volunteerism and programming, the workshop will address all aspects of the socio-technical system. We will also describe aspects of the free/open project where contributions would be welcome, but this is not an exploitative workshop.