July 1, 2010; Source: Radio World | In the Delta area of Mississippi, a nonprofit community development corporation has won the approval of the Federal Communications Commission to operate a new noncommercial FM radio station. Apart from its radio venture, the Clarksdale based Quitman County Development Organization’s website lists functions such as housing development, business loans, micro-enterprise development, and a federal credit union to its credit.

QCDO’s radio identity is under the name, Deep South Delta Foundation.

QCDO/Delta got the FEC approval for the station over a competing application from the Blues and Gospel Heritage Association, which would have served Jonestown, Mississippi. QCDO offers media arts job training, which will most certainly be enhanced by the development of the FM station. This news should remind readers about the unique roles of nonprofit community developers in rural areas like the Delta: QCDO is hardly just a housing developer.

With a relatively small staff, it runs a constellation of programs that are vital to the survival and progress of the Mississippi Delta. Its successes over the past 30 years have led to foundation support from the likes of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the F.B. Heron Foundation, the C.S. Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Foundation for the Mid-South. That’s the uniqueness of rural community development—it is community development in the broadest sense, not just housing development or business development.

One could only hope that U.S. foundations that generally ignore rural issues would come to the table for rural CDCs in the Delta and elsewhere like they have for QCDO, enabling this organization to incorporate educational radio into its concept of rural community development.—Rick Cohen