MAIN offers mapping tool for activists

July 29, 2012 by Wally Bowen

The nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) has launched a mapping tool prototype for citizens and grassroots groups in Western North Carolina.

For years, big corporations and government agencies have enjoyed the power of GIS and data visualization to shape public policies and public opinion. Until now, the cost and technical complexity of these tools have kept them out of the reach of average citizens.

MAIN is partnering with community media groups in California, Vermont, Washington, and South Carolina to develop this suite of GIS and data visualization tools. In the months ahead, we will be expanding this prototype by adding more WNC counties, new layers of data, and new applications.

MAIN is also seeking funding to provide tutorials in the use of GIS/DV for staff and volunteers with WNC grassroots organizations.

Please visit the link above for a preview of MAIN’s “Mapping Western North Carolina” website. And while you are there, please fill out the brief “Civic Engagement” survey. It’s quick, anonymous, and it could help MAIN and its partners compete for the Knight Foundation’s “Civic Data Challenge.”

Feedback is welcome at:

Corporate Corruption & Media Reform

July 12, 2012 by Wally Bowen

Dear Friends of Independent Media:

“The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption” is an article in Wednesday’s New York Times, and it includes this sentence: “Perpetrators understandably do their best to hide the dirty deeds from public view.”

What this otherwise excellent article fails to mention is this:

It’s the job of independent journalism to pull back the curtain and expose the “dirty deeds” of corporate corruption.

Or as Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” says, independent journalists “go where the silence is” to report on what government and corporate elites don’t want us to know.

Corporate media produce stories to maintain a politically passive public, activated primarily to shop.

Independent media produce stories to create an informed public, activated to engage in public policy and civic life, even to the point of challenging the dominant corporate order.

Since 1996, only one organization in Western North Carolina has consistently fought BOTH for independent journalism and greater citizen-access to media. That organization is MAIN, the Mountain Area Information Network.

Now, MAIN is at a crossroads. We need your help.

Please support our “Media Independence for WNC” fund drive with a generous tax-deductible donation via our secure server.

Or mail your donation to: MAIN, 34 Wall Street, Suite 407, Asheville, NC 28801.

And check out how your donation will be used here.

For Media Independence!

The MAIN Staff and Board of Directors

PS – Stand by for news of MAIN-FM’s imminent return to the local airwaves with a much-improved signal!

PSS – If you are new to Western North Carolina, check out this “Timeline of MAIN’s Major Accomplishments, 1996-2012.”

This 4th of July, support Media Independence for WNC!

June 28, 2012 by cd

Dear Friends – This Independence Day, we are reminded that our forebears fought and died for independence from British monarchy AND corporate control from the likes of the British East India Company.

The growing shadow of the “Citizens United” ruling, allowing unlimited corporate spending in our elections, means that the Torch of Liberty and the struggle against oligarchy and corporate control are now in our hands.

Today, the nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) is the ONLY organization in WNC fighting the growing power of media corporations and the cable and telephone companies’ monopoly control of the Internet.

As a founding member of the Rural Broadband Policy Group, MAIN is the ONLY organization in WNC fighting in Congress and at the FCC to expand “last-mile” broadband access in our rural communities and underserved neighborhoods.

In this struggle, MAIN needs your help now more than ever before.

MAIN’s founder and executive director, Wally Bowen, has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

That’s why we have launched a $50,000 capital campaign to:

* Hire an interim director so that Wally can focus on his health while continuing MAIN’s broadband policy work.

* Conduct a strategic plan and search for a permanent executive director.

* Implement the long-awaited “TV white spaces” technology to expand MAIN’s rural broadband coverage.

Please make a generous donation to honor Wally’s many years of service and to ensure MAIN’s ongoing work to secure our civil liberties and media independence!

Your contribution is tax-deductible, and you can donate online via our secure server at:

Have a wonderful 4th of July and thanks for your support of MAIN!

For Media Independence,

MAIN Staff and Board of Directors

PS – For more information on MAIN’s future and how you can get more involved, check out:

An important message from MAIN

April 20, 2012 by cd

Dear Friends of Progressive Media:

Many of you know that the non-profit Mountain Area Information
Network has worked for many years to provide an alternative to AT&T
and Charter for Internet access.

Today this mission is in jeopardy. If the Asheville City Council
does not act on April 24, MAIN must vacate a City-owned cell tower
and shut down a major part of its Asheville network on May 1.

Many of your friends and neighbors will lose Internet access. And
MAIN’s ability to upgrade and expand our broadband service will be
greatly limited, making Asheville even more dependent on AT&T and

We need your help.

Please review the notice to MAIN subscribers below and then call or
e-mail the members of City Council (contact info below).

Ask City Council to allow MAIN to continue providing nonprofit
Internet access via the City-owned tower.

For a More Democratic Media!

MAIN Staff and Board of Directors

Dear MAIN Subscriber:

We are writing to inform you that your Internet service via MAIN may
be terminated May 1, 2012. The reason is that your service from MAIN
is delivered via a cell-tower owned by the City of Asheville, which
could require MAIN to vacate the tower on May 1.

We apologize for the possible disruption of service, but we are
hopeful that it can be prevented.

The decision to have MAIN vacate the tower was made at the
staff-level. MAIN is currently requesting a policy directive by the
Asheville City Council to prevent this action, and we need your

On March 21, the MAIN Board of Directors passed a resolution (see
below) asking the City Council to grant MAIN access to this
cell-tower for 36 months. This in-kind support has a commercial
value of approximately $60,000 (including past-due rent).

We want to be clear: MAIN is NOT requesting any funding from the
City of Asheville.

As you know, the City of Asheville routinely awards grants and
subsidies to for-profit companies to locate or expand facilities in
our community. Recently the City awarded $3.5 million in incentives
to New Belgium Brewery. Last June, the City awarded approximately $2
million in subsidies to Linamar, a Canadian auto-parts manufacturer.

While MAIN is a nonprofit, we believe our unique public-service
mission merits a small fraction of the support provided these
for-profit enterprises. In return, MAIN is prepared to invest a
minimum of $25,000 to upgrade and expand our broadband network in

MAIN also plans to seek additional private funding as well as
federal broadband support proposed in the National Broadband Plan.
The $60,000 value of City tower space would qualify as “in kind
matching support” to attract future broadband investments in our

As you know, MAIN is the only organization in Asheville dedicated to
bridging the broadband Digital Divide for individual households and
small businesses, a goal shared by the regional Economic Development
Coalition to which the City belongs.

The Asheville City Council meets on April 24, just six days before
the May 1 deadline.

Please contact Council members and urge them to support MAIN’s
request for continued access to the City-owned cell tower. Again,
this request is ONLY for tower space. MAIN is NOT requesting any

Thanks for supporting MAIN’s unique public-service mission!

MAIN Board of Directors

Asheville City Council contact information:

Mayor Terry Bellamy: mayorbellamy at –– 828.259-5600

Vice-Mayor Esther Manheimer: emanheimer at ––

Councilman Cecil Bothwell: cecil at –– 828.713.8840

Councilman Jan Davis: jandavis at –– 828.253.5634

Councilman Marc Hunt: marchunt at –– 828.273.2172

Councilman Chris Pelly: chrispelly at –– 828.231.3704

Councilman Gordon Smith: gordonsmith at –– 828.279.2551

A Resolution by The Board of Directors

A year-end message from MAIN

December 22, 2011 by Wally Bowen

Dear Friends:

Since its launch in 1996, MAIN has played an increasingly important role in federal and state policies on community media and Internet access.

Here’s a quick look back at 2011:

* Last February, our public-interest allies in DC needed MAIN’s help in challenging a Verizon lawsuit to eliminate the FCC’s proposed open Internet rules. As the only “last-mile” ISP in the national media reform movement, MAIN was critical in achieving “standing” in the suit. On April 4, a US Appeals Court dismissed Verizon’s lawsuit.

* In March, MAIN made a landmark filing with the Federal Communications Commission calling for federal policies to protect communities’ rights to “self-provision” broadband infrastructure.

* In May, the rights of municipalities to “self-provision” broadband came under attack by the right-wing N.C. General Assembly. MAIN played a lead role in opposing this cable/telecom-driven legislation. Though the bill passed, we succeeded in blowing the whistle – and raising public awareness – on the cable/telecom lobby’s push for total control over broadband access in NC.

* Since July, we helped block repeated attempts by conservatives in Congress to auction our public airwaves to the highest bidder. These backroom deals – under the guise of “deficit reduction” – would eliminate the TV “white spaces,” the vacant TV channels we fought so hard to liberate from corporate control in 2008. This high-performance spectrum continues to be our greatest hope for solving the rural broadband crisis! We’re hopeful the FCC will give final approval for TVWS technologies in 2012.

Meanwhile, the cable and telephone companies are relentless in their efforts to prevent communities from launching broadband Internet networks. What if Wall Street had succeeded in prohibiting rural electric and telephone cooperatives 60 years ago?

Rural America won the battle to “self-provision” electricity and telephone service. With your help, we can win the battle to self-provision broadband Internet access!

Western North Carolina is unique in having a “last-mile” broadband network like MAIN to demonstrate how rural communities can escape broadband dependency on Wall Street and the cable/telco duopoly.

We need your help now more than ever. Our founder and executive director, Wally Bowen, has been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. In 2012, we will begin a national search for Wally’s successor. Meanwhile, Wally will continue his invaluable policy work.

Your year-end, tax-deductible donation will help keep MAIN’s unique and historic work going strong in this pivotal year of 2012. You can donate via our secure online link, or mail your tax-deductible donation to: MAIN, 34 Wall Street, Suite 407, Asheville, N.C. 28801.

From all of us at MAIN, best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy new year!

The MAIN Board of Directors, Staff and Volunteers

Impulse Audio Tonight! 5-12-11

May 12, 2011 by onair

Check out Impulse Audio TONIGHT  7-10PM  with host Jessica Hatter and co host  Keith Chop Chop Fisher! No mainstream just music!

Impulse Audio Tonight! 5-12-11

May 5, 2011 by onair

Check out Impulse Audio TONIGHT  7-10PM  with host Jessica Hatter and co host  Keith Chop Chop Fisher! No mainstream just music!