betterArts Presents: Live Radio Broadcast 'Christmas With The Paynter Singers' Dec. 15

betterArts' Live Radio Broadcast Series continues at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, with "The Paynter Singers Christmas Extravaganza," hosted by Better Radio show host Victor.

The singing group, which regularly performs locally  out of the Paynter Senior Center in Clayton, will perform Christmas carols in Better Farm's library for anyone who would like to come listen, enjoy homemade treats, hot cocoa, tea, and other refreshments.

The performance will also be recorded for podcast, and transmitted live over the Better Radio airwaves. Local residents unable to attend may tune in at 88.5 FM.

The performance is part of a monthly, live broadcast series put on by betterArts and shared in real time on Better Radio as a way to enrich the area's local music scene in an intimate setting throughout the year. The event is free and open to the public.

Call (315) 482-2536 or email info@betterarts.org with any questions. Better Farm is located at 31060 Cottage Hill Road in Redwood. To learn more about betterArts' radio project, click here.

Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Become A Better Radio Supporter of 88.5 FM!

Become A Better Radio Supporter of 88.5 FM!

Better Radio is a new, low-power FM station serving the Redwood community and surrounding hamlets and towns in Northern New York. The station broadcasts talk shows, live and pre-recorded original music, interviews, story-telling, news, weather, fishing reports, poetry, garden guides, and much more. The goal is to highlight all the people, music, businesses, activity, and culture of the North Country through our own, independent news outlet.

And Better Radio needs your help!

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Former Sustainability Student Jackson Pittman Records Full-Length Album... About Vegetables

Jackson Pittman, a former sustainability student at Better Farm and current full-time farmer at Six Circles Farm in Ithaca, has released a full-length album. And it's all about vegetables:

Jackson dedicated the LP to Six Circles Farm for teaching a young boy how to grow food. Also dedicated to Stylo Clique Chop City Misguided Youth and everyone growing up in the city who dreams of more than concrete. Check the tracks out here -- and tune in to 88.5 FM to hear Jackson's songs on Better Radio!

The artist.

The artist.

Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Two-Part NCPR Series Features Better Farm

Two-Part NCPR Series Features Better Farm

Dec 09, 2015 — Nicole Caldwell is co-founder of Better Farm, a 60-acre sustainability farm and artists’ colony in Redwood, near the Thousand Islands. Caldwell inherited the farm from her uncle, who organized a commune on the property back in the 1970’s. Left paralyzed after a car accident, Caldwell’s uncle, Steve, moved to the North Country where, with the help of friends and family, he ran a farm, enjoyed the outdoors and taught others about sustainable living. Today, there’s a new generation of residents from around the world.

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Better Radio Wants YOU!

BetterArts is seeking reporters, musicians, show anchors, volunteers, story tellers, gardeners, savantes, and local personalities for its new station, Better Radio WBTS 88.5 FM.

The low-power FM station, set to go live at the annual Better Festival June 20, 2015, is getting ready for its launch by archiving content throughout the winter months.

Better Radio will feature an NPR-like format that showcases everything going on in the North Country; from original music to gardening advice to fishing and hunting reports, conservation efforts, news and weather, political roundups, health and wellness programming, and much much more.

A series of workshops will be slated throughout the winter to offer free training to any interested volunteers in the basic mechanics of sound engineering, editing, uploading, and syncing files for use on-air. Anyone interested in renting a recorder to create sound files (original music, funny jokes, personal narrative, or interviews) is welcome to do so free of charge as long as he or she has had a basic training session in how to use the equipment.

Here is a list of programming planned so far. If you have interest in contributing as a guest, musician, interview subject, reporter, sponsor or otherwise, please email

info@betterarts.org

. Until we go on-air in J

une, we will be pre-recording segments, renovating o

ffice space to s

erve as station studio, and creati

ng connections with local organi

zations. This is a great time to get in

volved

with th

is exciting new project! We are also accepting

betterArts res

idents

interested in

New Me

dia, broadcast journalism

, or sound engineering. Musicians applying to the residency program additionally now have the opportunity to host their own show

during their

time here or contribute their music to the station for airtime.

Daily Programming

  •  
  • “On the Spot” interviews and coverage of local events
  •  
  • Upcoming events listings for area organizations, school performances, etc.
  •  
  • “On This Day in History” tidbits
  •  
  • Daily Farmers Almanac
  •  
  • Weather
  •  
  • News

Music Exchange

  •  
  • Local bands' original tracks
  •  
  • Trade our local music with music from other LPFM stations and artists around the world

Better Health & Wellness

  • Eating local and in season
  • Recipes
  • Diet and lifestyle advice
  • Herbals, homeopathy
  • Encouragement, Inspiration

Spirituality Programming

  • Worship services
  • Yoga sessions
  • Guided meditation
  • Inspirational stories of synchronicity and coincidence

Outdoor Show

  •  
  • Interviews with reps from outdoors-based organizations in the North Country
  •  
  • Fishing/Hunting Report
  •  
  • Water temps in local lakes, river
  •  
  • Survival/wild edible plants/foraging

Kids Broadcasting

  • Naptime storytelling/reading children's books
  • Interviews with children
  • Programming for kids(sing-a-longs, re-aired public use kids' segments)

Open Mic

  •  
  • Recorded poetry readings
  •  
  • Interviews with Local Authors
  •  
  • Storytelling/Personal tales
  •  
  • Jokes, puns, listener quetsions and call-ins
  •  
  • Interviews with local artists

Love Line

  •  
  • Dear Abbey Advice
  •  
  • Call-in advice with guest panel

Green Thumb

  •  
  • Interviews with gardeners
  •  
  • Interviews with farmers for growing tips and tricks
  •  
  • Guest speakers from Cornell Cooperative Extension, local nurseries, etc.
  •  
  • Composting
  •  
  • Planting Guides
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Better Radio Update: Tower Installed!


Volunteers got together over the weekend to install Better Radio's tower, which will broadcast in 2015 from WBTS 88.5 FM.

Ham radio operator Walter Dutcher out of Rochester, N.Y., shared his extensive knowledge of radio frequencies and operating procedures which allowed the Better Radio committee, a division of betterArts, to experiment with signal strength and to get a better idea of how this project will work.

Walter, along with Rossie native Carl Frizzell, installed the radio tower on Saturday; and on Sunday Better Radio volunteers Eileen Kaleel and Dave Aitcheson did a signal-strength test locally to see where Better Radio will theoretically reach.
Communiques with fellow ham-radio operators living locally, along with the test drive, produced some startling results: Better Radio's reach is further than originally thought! Here's the short list (more test drives to come!):
  • Downtown Alexandria Bay
  • Kring's Point
  • Thousand Islands Winery
  • Downtown LaFargeville
  • Downtown Theresa
  • Evans Mills (limited signal)
  • Rossie
  • Downtown Redwood
  • The Indian River Lakes
  • Hammond
Here's the technical info, brought to you by Walter:

We have a construction permit for 100 W radiated power at 88.5 MHz.  We  have done a coverage evaluation at our location using 50 Watts FM into a HAM antenna (J pole) at 146.535 MHz using the tower and location we want to use for the LPFM station.  With 50 Watts, we got very respectable coverage all around us.  We have approximately a 10-mile radius before signal begins to drop off.  So, we would like to purchase equipment that we can use at this power range with the option to crank it up to our legal limit if necessary.  We ran the test using a 50’ tower and LMR-400 cable.  We have a supply of LDF4-50A which we can use for the permanent feedline. 

We need the transmitter and a good antenna; and the transmitter needs to have the FCC approval for this type of operation and some strong features  like RDS for station identification, ability to handle emergency broadcast feed (although we may start out on the cheap for this and bring a signal into our mixing console) but need the break in  capability for future, good compression and level balancing. We have funds raised throughout the last year to put toward this purchase, with additional fundraising ongoing. (To donate to the cause, email info@betterarts.org for tax-deductible donation information.)

We would like to be on the air around June 2015 but would love to get something up before the snow flies too much here for more testing and to aid in program development.
With all of that in mind, the next few months will be spent producing and archiving content—along with a few test broadcasts. Stay tuned for more updates on that so you can tune in!

If you would like to join the Better Radio family as a volunteer, producer, station hand, journalist, or benefactor, please contact info@betterarts.org or call (315) 482-2536. 
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

BetterArts Gets Grand Tour of NCPR Studios

A professional radio broadcast setup in one of NCPR's rooms.
The team at North Country Public Radio last week invited board members from betterArts out to the NCPR studios in Canton, N.Y., for a tour of the facilities, meet 'n' greet, and brainstorm session with some of NCPR's heaviest hitters in order to offer betterArts some insight as it forays into broadcast with its newest project, Better Radio.

Based in Canton, NY, in St. Lawrence County, NCPR informs, enriches and connects the region-on air, online and in local communities. The organization operates a network of 32 transmitters broadcasting to the entire Adirondack North Country, western Vermont and southeastern Ontario. The commercial-free format includes a wide variety of programs from National Public Radio including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air and more. NCPR's award-winning news team can be heard weekdays at 8:00 am with regional news broadcasts, features and interviews. The station also airs an eclectic mix of locally-hosted music programs.
 
Last Thursday several betterArts board members were treated to a sit-down meeting with several station hosts, reporters, producers, and managers to go over Better Radio plans. We discussed funding options, content, FCC rules and licensing arrangements, and even the potential to work together on future projects involving content-shares and more. BetterArts also got the grand tour of a variety of broadcast rooms to get some design ideas for Better Radio's main station at Better Farm.

Many thanks to everyone at NCPR, including Jackie, Natasha, Radio Bob, Sarah, Ellen, and Martha for being so supportive, informative, and helpful! For more information on how you can get involved with or support Better Radio, click here.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Better Radio Gets a Home at 88.5 FM!

A beautiful thing: Better Radio's call number and construction permit!
betterArts was today notified that its newest project, Better Radio, has been assigned a station number and granted a construction permit!

From this date, the non-profits arts and cultural outreach organization has 18 months to construct its tower and begin transmitting from the low-power station, 88.5 FM. In addition to broadcasting via this station, Better Radio will be shared internationally through podcasts via betterArts' website and blog posts at betterfarm.blogspot.com. In order for the tower, transmitter, and all other associated broadcast equipment to be realized for this project, betterArts is set to launch a fundraising campaign in order to acquire all necessary items and have start-up capital for broadcasting. To find out how you can support this initiative, email info@betterarts.org.

Better Radio has already created partnerships with Indian River High School, students from Sackets Central, several professional musicians living in the region, Best Buy, and volunteers throughout the North Country and beyond who are interested in sharing their time, energy, and expertise with the project. To learn more and get involved, visit www.betterarts.org/better-radio.

For the technically minded among you, here's the fine print:
Call Sign: NEW     Service: FL
Community of License: REDWOOD, NY   File Number: BNPL20131025AGS
Action: GRANTED  [04/23/2014]   Type: ORIGINAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT
CDBS Facility ID: 193947   CDBS Application ID: 1582242

--------------------------------------------------------------
The information within this email notification is provided to friends and clients, free of charge, as a courtesy of V-Soft Communications, LLC.  FCC Activity Alerts are derived from public data made available by the Federal Communications Commission.  The data within the notifications is provided as is, with no warrantee as to correctness. V-Soft Communications, LLC disclaims any liability for the accuracy, content or other aspects of the information contained within the data provided. "FCC Activity Alert" is not a product of the Federal Communications Commission
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Better Radio's Newest Hosts

John Dunsö, far right, teaches Sovanndary Sok (left) and Brian Elliott principles of sound engineering.
The latest cast of characters to join the Better Radio family are Sackets Harbor Central School seniors Sovanndary Sok and Brian Elliott. The two will be co-hosting a radio program for betterArts starting this summer.

Sovanndary is interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, while Brian is a guitarist and singer excited to record and edit his own music. The two will produce programming for Better Radio that will include in-studio recording sessions with Brian, interviews with local bands and musicians, and news about the North Country music scene including concerts listings.

To kick things off, the pair visited Better Farm yesterday for a crash-course in digital recording and editing. Our visiting artist-in-residence John Dunsö volunteered his time to teach the two fundamentals of sound engineering. This included basic recording, uploading sound files, and introductory editing strategies. Sovanndary and Brian practiced conversing into the microphones, and Brian even recorded a few songs.


Sovanndary and Brian will be visiting Better Farm regularly to begin stockpiling content for podcasts and broadcasts. Artists interested in being featured on their show can contact them via betterArts at info@betterarts.org.

For more information about Better Radio and how you can get involved, visit www.betterarts.org/better-radio.
1 Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Better Radio Program Kicks Off

Students at Indian River High School practice uploading audio files.
Better Radio kicked off yesterday with a betterArts visit to journalism students at Indian River High School in Philadelphia, N.Y.

Those students—armed with a tapestry of interests ranging from sports to singing—will utilize technology provided by betterArts to create audio files, podcasts, and music tracks that will then be broadcast on-air, online, and via the students' school newspaper, Warrior Ink.

Zach Anderson, newspaper adviser and member of the English department at IRHS, invited board members from betterArts in to speak with his journalism students about the non-profit's New Media project.

During class, reps from betterArts introduced students to these recorders:
Sony digital voice recorder, left, and AGPtek 4GB rechargeable digital sound voice recorder.
After playing with the record, playback, stop, start, and file-browsing options, students were walked through the process of uploading sound files to their computers. Over the course of the next few weeks, the teenagers will record stories or performances of their choice; and betterArts will return to go over sound editing, podcast creation, and posting audio files on the Internet.

The content will be featured here on our blog, and on Warrior Ink—which is produced entirely online by its IRHS student reporters. Once betterArts is broadcasting live on FM radio, selections from these students' work will also be played on-air.
Warrior Ink is the official student newspaper of Indian River High School, Philadelphia New York, and has been published exclusively online since Fall 2012.  We are dedicated student journalists bringing you all the news we can, roughly twice a month.  All content featured is written and edited by IRHS students, except photos where noted. - See more at: http://warriorink.org/about/#sthash.5rRnwx4D.dpuf
Students get acquainted with tiny digital voice recorders yesterday in Philadelphia, N.Y.
Scott Smith, left, and Mike Brown work with students to upload audio files.
Check out the amazing work of these students on their student newspaper website here. For more information on Better Radio and to become a partner or sponsor, visit www.betterarts.org/better-radio. Many thanks to Best Buy Children's Foundation for making this project possible.
1 Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.

Why 'Better Radio' Matters

a giant from Free Press's Media Giants infographic
View Free Press's Media Giants infographic.
We announced a couple of weeks ago that Better Radio is on its way! And thanks to a community grant from Best Buy, we have the necessary funds to offer New Media training to young people in the North Country. That, along with the pending station confirmation, website and blogs to broadcast podcasts from for a larger reach, and our commitment to showcase local news, personalities, and music, really make Better Radio all about the people it serves. BetterArts board member and grant-writing powerhouse Sarah Herold last week found a great NPR piece that articulates this point exactly and goes a little more in-depth about how low-power FM stations are providing the public with unfettered information now so rare in mainstream media. Below is that piece reposted in its entirety, written by Betty Yu:

Roots, Radio and Social Change: Why Low Power FM Radio is about YOU

Media watchdog group Free Press’s recent infographic reveals how media corporations are using shell companies to evade the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ownership rules and gobble up local TV stations across the US. It’s another sobering reminder that we are facing some of the biggest threats to media democracy and free speech in our country’s history. The acceleration of media consolidation and unfair restrictions on community radio and TV have narrowed already limited access to the airwaves for local voices, especially women and communities of color. People of color make up over 36 percent of the US population, but own just over seven percent of radio licenses and three percent of TV licenses.

In an environment in which corporations and the government increasingly control the airwaves, where can social justice movements and marginalized communities go to have their voices heard?  Enter low power FM radio (LPFM). Two years ago, President Obama signed the Local Community Radio Act after a 15-year organizing campaign led by Prometheus Radio Project and Common Frequency, two grassroots groups supporting community radio. The law marks the largest expansion of community radio in US history. It was a tremendous victory for social change and media justice movements. Local communities now have the power to transform the corporate-driven media landscape.
People of color make up over 36 percent of the US population, but own just over seven percent of radio licenses and three percent of TV licenses.

This expansion of LPFM stations means that hundreds of nonprofit organizations, schools, unions and other community groups have a unique and low-cost opportunity to develop programming to meet their local and issue-based needs. “With new community radio stations preparing to claim a spot on the airwaves, we’re looking forward to hearing truly local news, neighbors speaking to each other about the topics that concern them, and local culture and music programming,” says Julia Wierski of Prometheus Radio Project.

There are many inspiring stories about the profound impact that LPFM stations have had on local communities, not to mention on issues of self-determination, cultural sovereignty and social justice. One such story is the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Radio Conciencia , a station in Immokalee, Fla., run by its members. The coalition is made up of mainly Latino, Maya Indian and Haitian immigrants, working in low-wage jobs throughout the state. They started Radio Conciencia WCIW- LP (107.9 FM) in 2003, a 100-watt station that features news of its members’ labor fights, campaigns and other local issues; music; and cultural and educational programming in several languages, including indigenous dialects. Most coalition members lack access to the Internet, relying on the station for basic news, local information and entertainment.
Two broadcasters at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Radio Conciencia, a worker-run radio station in Immokalee, Florida.
Broadcasters at the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Radio Conciencia, a worker-run radio station in Immokalee, Fla.

“When Hurricane Wilma hit Immokalee in 2005, we realized the deep value of Radio Conciencia. All local radio stations were transmitting alerts on the impending hurricane, but Radio Conciencia was the only radio that was transmitting information on where to go and what to do in Spanish and in the indigenous languages spoken in our community,” said Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, an organizer with the coalition and Radio Conciencia.
Another great example of a thriving LPFM station is in Opelousas that is home to zydeco music, a Cajun-Creole tradition in southwest Louisiana that dates back centuries. Zydeco was missing on the airwaves in the city, so in 2003 a local group started KOCZ(LP) and started playing the music along with local news, jazz, R&B and other music. It’s had an influence on other radio stations in the area, which now play music in the zydeco tradition.

Members of Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), a national media justice network of 170 organizations are taking advantage of the FCC’s LPFM application window. They understand that radio can be a powerful tool for amplifying the voices of grassroots leaders and local communities fighting for social change.

“Community radio stations represent the last bastions of airwaves that are representative of the communities they come from and put the control of whose voices get heard and which stories get distributed in the hands of the community. The potential of the FCC’s LPFM application window is tremendous when we consider that up to 1,000 new radio stations could come on the air in the next few years. Those are 1,000 new voices that are currently not being heard in rural and urban cities across the country,” says Steven Renderos of Center for Media Justice.
Comment

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.