This article considers media activism around low-power FM radio as hybrid formation, combining expertise with amateurism and management with self-organizing practice. Specifically, it ethnographically examines the technical and social practices of a group of activists who promote “appropriate technology,” emphasizing both the diffusion of hardware and technical skill and democratic, “participatory” social relations. The activists’ efforts fell along multiple lines, including policy and hands-on technical work to build hardware, but they considered their work to occur against the backdrop of a social movement for media democracy and a wider social justice agenda. A significant undertaking in their practice was pedagogy, predicated on a notion of expertise as widely accessible, through which they sought to widen technical and political participation. Yet, while imparting technical skill was a priority, arguably more important to this activist project was deepening political and affective commitment and constructing technology as a site to enact participatory politics and challenge elite expertise.

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