DU’s Prison Arts Initiative Launches Statewide Radio Station
The first statewide prison radio station in the United States will be launching summer 2021 thanks to the incredible team at the University of Denver’s Prison Arts Initiative (DU PAI) — a program that connects incarcerated people and their communities through creative learning experiences that enrich the lives of people who are incarcerated and shift the conversation about prison.
DU PAI will be launching a station called Inside Wire Radio, which will broadcast into facilities using the Colorado Department of Corrections closed circuit television network in order to reach residents inside the facilities. Limon Correctional Facility will be the home-base facility for Inside Wire Radio’s initial launch, but with the hopes that eventually the station can reach into other facilities in the state.
Inside Wire Radio will include a mixture of music, entertainment, talk, news features and story-based pieces as well as some educational programming and information on inspiration, mindfulness and fitness. But ultimately, it will be a community radio that will let people not only listen to the show but to actively participate in its creation.
“Community radio is made with active participation from members of its community. So in this case, that’s incarcerated producers,” says Ryan Conarro, creative producer and affiliate faculty with DU PAI. “As we launch and continue to grow, more and more people inside facilities, if they’re interested, can become part of not just listening, but also making shows.”
Emmitt Compito, program assistant and advisory board member with DU PAI, is excited to see how Inside Wire Radio will bring people together. After being incarcerated himself for 17 years, Compito knows how much bringing in broadcasting and music will mean to those incarcerated.
“We’ve never had anything like this or thought something like this would be possible,” says Compito. “So just being in the position to be a part of DU PAI and to give back to my family and communities, that’s like one of my biggest dreams coming true.”
This year, DU PAI will be a part of the annual 1Day4DU campaign on May 19, raising money for all the necessary costs that will go into launching Inside Wire Radio, including equipment, music libraries, licensing for music, and production studios. Funding and spreading the word will help DU PAI the most in building this infrastructure.
“There’s so many ways that people can contribute, whether it’s people on the outside helping financially or people on the inside spreading the word,” says Compito. “We’re excited for this opportunity for everyone to see us in a different light — in a positive way, coming together and working together.”
DU PAI Radio’s 1Day4DU campaign is accepting donations until Thursday, May 20 at 12 p.m.