A public radio station in Nantucket, Mass., that previously aired a simulcast of Boston’s WGBH has recast itself as a full-fledged service hyperfocused on the resort island. Nantucket Public Radio’s 89.5 FM WNCK signal had aired WGBH’s classical music programming for the better part of a decade. When talks broke off over increasing WGBH’s payments to the station’s operator, the parties decided to walk away amicably. “We thought, so what do we do with the station now?” said Jeff Shapiro, owner of Nantucket Public Radio.
Boston NPR news station 90.9 WBUR-FM is wading into the Cape Cod resort market and going toe-to-toe with WGBH’s network of stations with its planned purchase of 92.7 WMVY-FM on Martha’s Vineyard. WBUR is buying the Tisbury, Mass.-based station for an undisclosed amount from Housatonic, Mass.-based Aritaur Communications Inc. The sale is expected to close in early 2013 pending FCC approval. Now broadcasting an adult alternative format, WMVY, known as mvyradio, will switch to WBUR’s news format, reaching up to 60,000 listeners with a 3,000-watt signal. The market includes Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and coastal towns including New Bedford, Fall River, Falmouth and Westport. “We believe that the islands, Cape Cod and SouthCoast are important parts of the community we cover and serve,” said WBUR General Manager Charlie Kravetz, in a statement.
It was raining in Baltimore Sept. 23 when independent producer Jay Allison delivered his “benediction,” the traditional closing speech of the Public Radio Program Directors annual conference. The bleary, conferenced-out audience listened closely. Allison, who learned the nonfiction radio craft when NPR was a startup and went on to start up a few radio institutions himself, reminded attendees why perseverance matters. They gave Allison a standing ovation before dispersing under the dark sky.
About a year and a half ago, we were getting ready to launch a new public radio service here on Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. I asked for advice from colleagues: How would you make them special? What would you put on the clean canvas of a brand new public radio station, the first one of the new millennium? Dozens of people took the time to respond, and we excerpted their advice in Current (Sept. 20, 1999), much of which was about how to be local, how to sound different.