Our heart is in it
Written by Ted Tait on May 16, 2019
I realize it’s been a little while since you’ve heard from us and you might think we have run out of steam. Quite the contrary – So much is going on that it’s hard to know where to start. The last piece of paperwork related to transferring the license of WWER to the Colonial Beach Community Foundation has been signed. In my meeting with the Fredericksburg Christian School it was very apparent how thrilled they are that this radio station license, this asset to the town of Colonial Beach, is going to benefit the town. Officially, the license will transfer on May 28. I was tempted to say “ownership would transfer” , but that would be a misnomer. While you can own property, nobody can own the airwaves, or a radio or TV license. Instead, the use of a frequency is considered a privilege, granted by a broadcast license from the FCC. This is an important distinction, since the airwaves are meant to be used for the public good, and if a station is not a good caretaker of that responsibility, the license can be revoked. This is true of commercial stations, and non-commercial stations like WWER.
I only mention this because we take this responsibility and distinction quite seriously at WWER. As we enter the home stretch of our preparations, we are busy making programs that we feel will be beneficial and interesting to the community. It’s a big task to start a radio station, and everyone involved is a volunteer, most of us with ‘day jobs’ (or night jobs) so we do this in our ‘spare time’. We will start small out of necessity, but plan to build over time. There is a lot of work going on to make 88.1FM ready for June 1, 2019.
We are already recording shows and testing systems that will bring them to air. We are listening to each others’ work and critiquing, in order to improve the quality. We are exploring more program ideas, and reaching out for new ways to serve the community.
Just tonight, I listened to a test recording of one of our first show ideas – the Early Jazz Music Review, hosted by Dave Tucker. Dave has worked very hard, and spent his own money gathering the tools he needs to produce this show. Without fancy studios, he may not have the polish of some other shows we hear on the radio, but his deep knowledge and love of the genre he is presenting shine through. I’ve been listening to some samples of other things we are producing for you as well, and have to say that I am so pleased and impressed with what we are doing.
When we go on air, it won’t be everything that I want, but it will have heart! Our dedicated volunteers have a passion for what we are doing, and Dave and his show are a perfect example of that. There will be periods of just music mix, but we will have some very nice specific shows like Dave’s and we will build as we go. Have a look at our shows page for a sneak peak at what we are working on so far.
I mentioned before that as a licensee, we are a caretaker of the airwaves with a responsibility to the community. We are looking for ways to honor that responsibility. We have reached out to the town council in the hope of airing their meetings on WWER so that even if you cannot attend, you can listen to what your local government is doing. We are reaching out to the Colonial Beach schools in the hope of partnering with them and offering students the opportunity to help, volunteer, and learn important skills. They might even have some fun along the way!
Today, our Program Director Tom Larson met with the Chamber of Commerce to introduce their members to what we are planning. He played some of our sample recordings to give them a taste. I’m happy to say they seemed very excited. Some of them already showed interest in helping fund WWER with underwriting grants. Obviously this is important to us because without money (even with everyone working for free), we cannot survive. Sadly, the phone company, power company and landlord still want to be paid.
For now, we are off to a good start. We have the backing of the Colonial Beach Community Foundation to help us get going, some very dedicated volunteers, and a plan. We are just weeks away from our launch, and I know we will be ready! There is so much more going on, but perhaps I should save that for another installment. And once we get on air, I’ll be able to do some of these as on-air announcements for your listening pleasure. Just remember that even if I make a mistake, my heart is in it!