Dateline: Takoma Park: Community Rises Up to Support Local Radio
Press Release: Takoma Park. March 13, 2018 Hundreds of Takoma Radio listeners pledged nearly $20,000 to WOWD-LP 94.3 during the low-power station’s recent week-long fund drive, another mark of mushrooming support for the 20-watt start-up’s unique blend of good music, diverse voices and community engagement.
On the air for less than two years, WOWD has established itself as a must-listen point on the dial for listeners in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, parts of Washington, D.C. and worldwide on TakomaRadio.org. Drawing on the area’s unmatched wealth of expertise, the mostly volunteer station was named the city’s “Best Radio Station” in its first year by the staff of the Washington Post Express. WOWD has also received regional and national recognition from Montgomery County, Preservation Maryland, and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
But the station needs more than love to stay on the air. The March 4 -10 on-air campaign was the station’s second fund-drive since launching in July 2016. Station managers were encouraged by the results, although they are still crunching the numbers of the young non-profit.
“It’s hard to know what the budget really is this early in the game,” says Diana Kohn, Executive Director of Historic Takoma, the local group that holds the license for Takoma Radio. “Now that the costs of getting the station on the air are behind us, it looks like the station needs to raise about $150,000 each year for recurring expenses.”
Organizers are determined to translate the community's rapid embrace of the local station — residents regularly gather in front of the studio storefront on Westmorland Avenue to watch the hosts at work — into sustained material support.
“If we couldn’t pay our bills, I guess we would go quiet," says Station Manager Marika Partridge. “But that won’t happen. The community has fallen in love with WOWD. Each time we ask for money, people give. Individuals and organizations and businesses support us because this thing we have collectively created is vital.”
The station’s line-up boasts a no-where-but-Takoma mix of shows hosted by music experts, album collectors and teenagers. The schedule includes a weekly hour on local authors, a show on disability rights, a roundup of art exhibitions, and everything from late night local hip-hop to globe-trotting playlists of jazz, blues, folk, African and Latino music. Starting March 17, DC's only children's radio programming is on WOWD every Saturday morning at 8am.
For more information on Takoma radio, contact TRex@TakomaRadio.org.