Wisconsin Community Media's mission is to support community expression through media by serving the needs of Public, Education, and Government media center staff, community producers and volunteers. We are a non-profit 501(c)(6) professional organization.
WCM believes it is important to keep media production and distribution facilities in the hands of communities, where "everyday" people can use them for the purposes they value without having to consider whether a message is commercially viable.
We have five standing committees: Finance, Conferences, Public Policy, Membership, and Communications & Resources.
Committees are typically chaired by a member of the Board. Committee members may be any member of the organization, not only the member station's primary contact, but also associate members and emeritus members related to the member station. As a result, not only staff of community media centers may be involved, but also commission members, producers who are members of their station, and elected and appointed officials may serve on committees.
Friends may also serve on committees.
WCM Board and Staff
WCM's history. Wisconsin Community Media was formed in 1998 as the Wisconsin Association of PEG Channels (WAPC). WAPC's founders were managers of PEG centers around the state and they wanted to organize in order to share knowledge and hold professional development events. They were also interested in showcasing what they were doing through a statewide video fest. For the first eightyears, WAPC was managed by an all-volunteer board of directors. In 2006, with 38 member stations, WAPC hired a part-time executive director.
In 2007, WAPC's membership grew rapidly to 65 members when state legislation ending local franchising and decimating community media was introduced and heavily promoted by AT&T and the cable industry. While WAPC was unable to stop passage, final language softened the effect of the legislation on PEG stations, even though it ended the collection of PEG fees from subscribers, a dedicated source of funding for community media.
In 2012, the WCM Board of Directors decided to open membership in WCM to individuals, businesses, and organizational supporters of community media. As a result, WCM now offers Friend memberships. We also have a special membership category for the many people who have dedicated most of their career to facilitating access and are now retired. Our member stations can nominate these special people to be Emeritus Members of WCM.
Today WCM has over 50 members including local media centers, friends and independent producers. Our members all produce video and use cable access channels, but nearly all of our members also distribute programming through the web and some of us operate low-power radio stations.