Feminista Frequencies: Tuning In to Chicana Radio Activism in the Pacific Northwest, 1975-1990
As the first in-depth study of KDNA, I situate the emergence of Chicana/o-controlled community radio in the 1970s when social movements inspired a reimagining of public broadcasting as a free-form format that was communal and activist-driven. In this research, I demonstrate that Chicanas, specifically farmworker women both U.S. born and immigrant, were early adopters and innovators of community radio technologies through a process I call Chicana radio activism. Chicana radio activists radically deployed community radio technologies by occupying positions of leadership within the radio station, training women as radio producers, creating content and radio programming unique to the Chicana experience, and implementing anti-sexist practices within the radio station. Recording feminist activism within community radio stations is of particular importance to Chicano movement historiography because it uncovers new evidence of Chicana grassroots leadership. Chicana radio activism was a political movement manifested through the act of producing aural cultural representations within the broadcast platforms Chicana radio producers helped create. Through an integration of feminist policies and woman-centered programming, Chicana broadcasters ruptured predominantly male-dominated media spaces while countering the cultural nationalism that centered male experiences.