About the author: Dr. Alan O’Connor teaches in the Cultural Studies Program at Trent University in Canada. He has published articles on community media in Latin America and more recently on punk subculture in Mexico and Canada.
2004 0-7734-6392-5 This book is the first one in English about the famous community radio stations operated in Bolivia by the miners’ trade unions. Since about 1950, there has been a network of more than twenty radios all locally funded and operated. This book focuses on the most heroic period of their existence during the twenty-five years from about 1960 to 1985.
This unique experience of local media is described through the voices of Latin American communication researchers and political activists. The chapters are selected and translated by Alan O’Connor who published the first scholarly article in English on the Bolivian miners’ radios. This book also gives readers an introduction to the methods and concerns of Latin American communication researchers.
This work includes overview written by Bolivian communication researchers who first brought the miners’ radios to the attention of researchers on participatory media. These pioneering articles struggle to fit the unruly miners’ radios into the concepts of debates about global communications. They stress what is unique about the Bolivian experience and the successes, problems and lack of resources of the radio stations.
The book also includes moving testimonies by participants in the radio stations. An historic transcript from a live broadcast shows how the radios connect up during times of political crisis in an attempt to organize resistance to a military coup. With the decline of the Bolivian mining industry since 1985 many of the radio stations no longer exist. The book documents attempts to rescue at least some of the stations and continue their work into the present.