Urbana-Champaign IMC Turns 3

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  , tbe Independent Media
Center celebrated its third anniversary with
a party at 218 W. Main St. in Urbana. Over
one hundred people attended the party,
and a great time was had by all. Eight new
members signed up with the IMC, and we
took in over $450, thanks to those who
donated money and renewed their memberships.
Over the last three years, the IMC has
grown from an organization with 100
members in January 2002, to an organization
of about 225 members that has outgrown
its rental space on Main St.With an
annual operating budget of about $20,000,
the IMC continues to produce more and
more media; IMC projects include a regular
radio show (Monday at 5:30 PM on
WEFT 90.1 FM), a monthly paper (The
Public i), a television program (every second
and fourth week of the month, on
Wednesday at 8 PM and on Thursday at 10
PM, on UPTV, Insight Cable channel 6), a
radical library open to the public, frequent
all ages shows, and of course, the website
(www.ucimc.org). The IMC, a registered
501(c)3, is the fiscal sponsor of the global
indymedia network and of many individual
IMCs and other like-minded organizations.
With all this activity, the major project
of 2003 has been the Capital Campaign, the
IMC’s initiative to raise $100,000 toward
purchasing a building of our own.We currently
have $55,000 in the bank. The goal of
the Capital Campaign is to have $100,000
by April 30, 2004. With our continued
efforts and collective energy, this is an
attainable goal. Once a new building is purchased,
the IMC has plenty of ideas for filling
and utilizing the new space. One of our
first goals will be to reopen a performance
space (the space at our current location was
closed by the city in May 2003) in order to
start bringing people into the IMC again
for all ages shows and independent
music. We will also be fostering a
number of cooperatively-run initiatives,
as well as possibly
renting space to other
local organizations.
In 2004, the
IMC will also
be focusing
on building a new lowpower
FM radio station.
Socialist Forum received
word from the FCC in
December that their
request for a low-power
FM radio permit, submitted
in the fall of 2000,
has been approved.
While the permit is in
Socialist Forum’s name,
it has always been their
intention to share the
new station, WRFU, and
its governance with the
IMC as a community
resource. A specific agreement has not yet
been worked out, but one proposal is to
form a consensus-based governing board
made up of 50% Socialist Forum members
and 50% IMC members. The station will
be a complement to WEFT, as there is
enough interest in the community to sustain
two station schedules. Furthermore, as
a low-power FM station, WRFU will be
able to use automation and will not have
substantial funding needs once it is on the
air. The station must be built by June 19,
2005, and it is estimated that this will cost
no less than $10,000 (for a very basic station)
and no more than $20,000 (for a
state-of-the-art station).
Ideally, the station will be
inside the IMC’s new building,
so fundraising for
WRFU will begin in
May, once the
Capital Campaign
is finished.
To get involved
with the planning for
this new initiative, join
the RFU email list at
h t t p : / / l i s t s . c u .
g r o o g r o o . c o m .
Also in the works for
2004 is a major expansion
of the Champaign-
Urbana Community
Wireless Network,
which received a
$200,000 grant from
the Open Society Institute
this year. The project
seeks to build a free
wireless network in Champaign-Urbana
and to offer an alternative to the local telecom
duopoly by placing wireless nodes on
subscribers’ rooftops at no cost to individuals,
though donations are always welcome.
The goal is threefold: to connect
more local citizens to the Internet; to develop
open-source hardware and software for
use by wireless projects around the world;
and to build and support communityowned,
not-for-profit broadband networks
in cities and towns throughout the world.
The Community Wireless Network is a
project sponsored by the IMC. For more
information, go to http://www.cuwireless.
2003 was as eventful as any other year
for the IMC. We overcame the closing of
our perfomance space by succeeding in getting
our points across to the local media,
holding a benefit that raised over $1,600
for the Shows group and the Capital Campaign,
and forging a new relationship with
the Channing-Murray Foundation, where
we continue to put on shows that are open
to every member of the community. 2004
looks to be even busier, as we look toward
purchasing a building, constructing a radio
station, and continuing our expansion of
community media resources. To join the
IMC, fill out a membership form at the
front table or contact Faith Swords at
faith@ucimc.org. To donate to the Capital
Campaign, send a check made out to
UCIMC with “Capital Campaign” in the
memo line, to UCIMC, attn:
Treasurer/Capital Campaign, 218 W. Main
St., Ste. 110, Urbana, IL 61820, or go to
http://capital.ucimc.org. To get involved,
all you have to do is show up. Meetings of
The Public i are every Thursday at 5:30;
check out the schedule at the IMC or send
an email to meghan@ucimc.org for info on
other groups. Most importantly, stop by
every once in awhile and check out what
your community has been up to.

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