Virus Can't Stop Community Radio

Community radio stations in Greenfield, Northampton and Brattleboro are broadcasting new editions of locally produced shows despite the epidemic. The stations are WMCB, WVEW, and WXOJ. They all play "Democracy Now," an important alternative to NPR news. Anyone who lives in the Valley can have a show on these stations.

Johanna Halbeisen has served on the WXOJ programming committee for about a decade. She told the Valley Post, “Some (show hosts) are coming to the station and doing live shows. Some have chosen to use backup shows or produce shows at home. No one is doing a live show from home – we don’t have the ability. Some shows that involve two or more people are producing shows and recording them for air play.... People who want to do live shows can get into the station.”

Stefan Ward-Wheten is on the WXOJ board. He told the Valley Post, “As radio stations and other public communications platforms are considered 'essential' in this time of pandemic response, we are doing our best to maintain functionality and continue providing all the content and information that we can under these adverse circumstances, while also protecting the health and safety of our members and the community at large. Broadcast media is especially important in times of social and communal stress, such as we're experiencing now, and Valley Free Radio (aka WXOJ) is committed to being the most effective local resource that we can be while we are all dealing with the spread of coronavirus.”

Vidhi Salla is continuing to produce her show on WVEW. The show is “Vidhi's Bollywood Jukebox.” It can be heard anytime at:

Salla told the Valley Post that at least two other WVEW show hosts are producing their shows despite the epidemic. “It’s all remote and whoever is able to pre-record is doing their shows. A collective decision was taken by the members of WVEW to continue broadcasting, if possible remotely, so that people can get access to local news and good music. Plus, regular listeners of some radio shows can feel a sense of continuity. More and more DJs are figuring out ways to pre-record and broadcast their shows at their regular time.”

Philippe Simon is production coordinator at WMCB. He told the Valley Post, "Our producers are beginning to get all the tools to continue production at home. Some can't be accommodated and we are running rebroadcasts of archived shows. Podcasting kits and recording tools have been sterilized after a two week isolation period and given to those who are continuing. Boxes have been set up for file delivery. Staff are mostly working remotely from home, and I am here for a part of each week to take care of in-house servicing of equipment."

All three stations can be heard anywhere via their web sites, or on FM radio in Greenfield, Brattleboro (and nearby parts of New Hampshire), and Northampton. The web sites are:


Community Radio- the best response

Local community radio is the best. The variety of voices, content and perspective is not available in the commercial model because of the financial drive. Keep it up -- perhaps the new normal -- folks listening to their community "on the radio."

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