Across the country, communities are putting together non-profits to support local radio. It seems to be partially a reaction to Republican threats to cutting the meager public radio subsidies that remain and largely a by-product of the movement to return to community-based economies.
Our local NPR affiliate, WAMC, has started its pledge drive this morning. It’s a great station and all, but their pledge drives are extremely irritating (mostly the smart but egomaniacal director talking about what a great job he’s doing, with almost no regular programming). I’m not saying I don’t pledge, I do. But then I have to look elsewhere to get my public radio fix.
Which is how I’ve discovered a few other great local sources of public radio. WGXC 90.7 calls itself “hands-on radio.” It’s true community broadcasting, run by and for residents of Columbia and Greene County in New York. Supported by free103point9, a New York non-profit dedicated to promoting arts in the state, it broadcasts a mix of news, music and general arts programming. Currently, it can be heard only through it’s online stream, but on February 26th, WGXC will be launching its new, more powerful FM signal from its headquarters in Catskill.
How can you not love a station who’s motto is “slightly off…but very good”? Robin Hood Radio (AM 1020; FM 91.7), managed by Tri-State Public Communications (also a non-profit dedicated to local broadcast communications), features a mix of national NPR shows (Morning Edition, Fresh Air), music and local gardening, lifestyle and public affairs shows. Robin Hood Radio can be heard through much of the Berkshires, Northwest Connecticut and the upper Hudson Valley. Both stations feature local news and weather and highlight local businesses, reflecting and supporting their communities the way that public radio was intended.