The RootIO (roots radio) is a civic media project to develop a loosely-integrated, content-agnostic “solution stack” for peer-oriented radio networks.  The project aims to mix communities, telephony, networking, and radio to create new models of community information.  RootIO crosses the best parts of community radio, broadcast networks, and peer production into a vertically integrated platform, gluing together existing technologies and creating new ones where necessary.

RootIO grew out of the recognition that despite the wonders of mobile telephony and the Internet, radio is still a vibrant medium, and in many places it is where most people get the bulk of their information.  It doesn’t require literacy, a personal device, or much power, it is transmitted free of charge, and it comes built in to many of the phones used around the world.

But radio is a broadcast medium, and hasn’t yet benefited much from the advances in peer networks and production that the Internet has enabled.  And small stations benefit the least.

The Uganda Connection

Our initial work is distributed between the US and Uganda.  RootIO is not a “development” project!  Our approach seeks to be scalable, so that the cheapest stations in the world can participate, but the US & Ugandan authors want to run stations like this in the US (and soon we can!) and around the world.  Radio culture in Uganda is rich and vibrant, with a mix of community, commercial, religious, and political stations.  Still, most of these stations are regional, and when they do well their goal is usually to grow.  We hope to make them proliferate, instead.



The RootIO Project is in collaboration with UNICEF Innovation Labs in Kampala, Uganda and Uganda Radio Network.


Interested in collaborating, partnering, or contributing to The RootIO Project? Please contact us at info@rootio.org