I was worried. What had I gotten myself into? I was moving to Martha’s Vineyard to become a deejay on WMVY. I knew about WMVY. I knew its prestigious standing within the radio world. I knew that joining their staff would be a big professional leap for me. But something I heard on the air immediately told me that I was going to fit in just fine.
It was Carmen.
One of the first times I really listened to mvyradio, Barbara Dacey’s dog Carmen barked during a live break. This was not the kind of casual, homey, live moment you would ever hear on corporate radio.
I knew I was home.
For the last dozen years I’ve been a deejay on mvyradio, and have heard hundreds, maybe thousands of stories like this from our listeners. Stories about people who found WMVY on the dial and fell in love. People whose intensely personal relationship to the Island is intertwined with their intensely personal relationship to the station, the music, the deejays and the spirit that mvyradio exudes.
Last week, when it was announced that the 92.7 FM frequency was sold, the reaction was really pretty phenomenal. Some came by email, some listeners called in and, of course, none of us could go anywhere on-Island without being stopped.
In fact, keeping up with it all was overwhelming, emotional and, in a counterintuitive way, very reassuring and heartwarming. The emails came in by the barrelful from listeners like Kerin Delaney who wrote: “I am so sad to hear that your FM station has been sold. I listen every day to you in the car and feel like I am losing a friend.”
Like losing a friend.
We’ve heard from so many members of the community who don’t want to lose WMVY. The good news is, they don’t have to.
Here’s what the future can look like: WMVY can continue as mvyradio, if we can raise $600,000 in the next eight to 10 weeks. That money will support all the local programming on WMVY, allow us to continue streaming online, and give us time — and resources — to find another FM signal and evolve into a non-commercial, nonprofit radio station.
Who is counting on this to happen? Not just the mvy staff.
The Red Stocking Fund is counting on the station to be there to run two of its three major fundraising events.
Travelers heading to the boat in either direction who need to know how the seas are running, and whether they can jump on standby count on our Steamship Authority Report.
The many fans and families associated with the Vineyard high school football team rely on us. Covering those games has been a tradition for nearly 30 years and we can’t imagine losing that play-by-play coverage.
The rich Vineyard music scene would lose a significant outlet if mvyradio went silent. For many, it’s their first chance to play live, on the air. It’s important for their local fans, but it also gives them incredible exposure to the worldwide streaming audience that tunes in.
There’s hardly an event of any merit, large or small, that hasn’t benefited from our on-air promotions and contests. To us, it’s second nature and it’s part of being a solid member of the community.
While most Island listeners haven’t yet tried to tune into our online stream, many others do, particularly those with deep connections to the Vineyard, whether they’re here for two days, two weeks or all summer long. To them — and we hear this over and over again — it’s the tether to the special place they return to year after year.
For nearly 30 years, mvyradio has been literally the soundtrack of Martha’s Vineyard. Thankfully, hundreds of listeners and fans, here and afar, have already made pledges to the station’s capital fund at friendsofmvyradio.org. We are so grateful, but to reach our ambitious, but necessary goal for year one, we need hundreds more to join them.
Over the mvyradio airwaves, we’ve invited the community to join us in supporting Vineyard charities, bands, Persons Of The Week, sports teams, nonprofits, local businesses and the community itself. But this time, we’re inviting you to support us, so we can continue to serve and reflect the Island.
PJ Finn is program director for radio station WMVY.