Aritaur Communications has announced that it will sell the frequency for WMVY, its Martha’s Vineyard fm station, to WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. Their plans for the signal do not include continuing to air the local flavored, eclectic-folk-alternative format that generations of islanders (either physically or virtually) have come to love. The staff of the station, headed by highly talented program director and all around great gal Barbara Dacey, are hoping that the community (local and online) will rally and raise enough cash to keep the programming streaming online.
I met Internet radio for the first time while I was managing Aritaur’s group of radio stations, and spending a lot of time at WMVY. It is, without a doubt, the best radio station, bar none, in the world. On any given day, at the little house at the end of a dirt road that we called an office, any number of fun, folksy, or famous people might stop by to visit. It is one of the few broadcast stations left that doesn’t program for mass appeal, which of course is its magic.
Dacey and others at the station are hoping to raise $600,000 in sixty days to keep the format alive online, which would be a fine place for it to live. While this may seem like a daunting goal, take this little story as an example of the power that a community has to save things that it values. I live in a small village in Connecticut where last year after hurricane Irene, our local market went out of business. For four months our community mourned the loss of our local store, before deciding to form a co-op to replace it. In a few short months the store had over 600 members (at $195 a membership) and had also loaned the store over $300,000 (in more than 200 individual loans). The store is open for business, and doing pretty well, in a village that is a lot smaller than Martha’s Vineyard.
So here’s wishing my friend Barbara and her crew a lot of luck in this next chapter. I’m sorry that WMVY won’t be on the air the next time I head out to the cape, and I know that Aritaur’s founder Joe Gallagher will miss it too; owning that station was his dream come true, selling it can’t have come easy.
In the meantime, you can still listen to the best there is, right here…