In the small WMVY radio studio tucked away at the end of a long dirt road, three pictures hang on the wall — the Grateful Dead, Elvis, Carly Simon. It takes a calm voice and even calmer sensibilities to tie that disparate jangle of musical styles together.

For 32 years, Barbara Dacey has been that voice.

The WMVY radio host has announced she is stepping away from a career at the station that spanned 32 years, beginning as a volunteer commercial announcer and ending as director of world wide programming. She says it’s the right time to let other things happen in her life.

It was a decision that evolved over time and took many forms, she said. Ms. Dacey made the announcement on the air during her midday shift on Oct. 24.

“It was an inner knowing somehow. I really wanted to make a clear break. I thought it was a better chance to let something else happen. Let some other people, other talents, other things come to the fore. Pretty consciously I’m not making any plans. I don’t have any travel plans or any plans to pursue other work. I really want to keep it open, that’s the whole idea.”

Ms. Dacey’s career in radio began as a kid growing up in Wellesley, when she would race to the front seat of the car so she could control the radio buttons. But she didn’t get into the business until after a long stint living in Harvard Square, playing her guitar and singing professionally in coffee houses, bars and at festivals.

She first visited Martha’s Vineyard in 1970, and fell hard for it.

Before turning to a career in radio Ms. Dacey played music professionally around Cambridge. — Maria Thibodeau

“The connection to the Vineyard, and the connection to the idea of the Vineyard and the idea of a place like this is very, very powerful,” she said.

She joined the staff of WMVY as a part time announcer in 1985. In 1993 she became program director, and in 2005 was named WMVY’s director of world wide programming, to focus on live streaming, interviews and station sponsored concerts. But being on the air was always her favorite part of the job, she said.

In an interview with the Gazette, Ms. Dacey spoke a lot about choosing music to play. It was as natural to her as sliding up the potentiometer that turns on her microphone or pushing the button that plays the next cut of music. Yet she was reminded that many radio announcers do not get to have that conversation. Most have little say in the music they play.

“Luckily we’ve had ownership that recognized that this radio station needs to decide what it’s going to do,” she said. “We can’t have people telling us what to play.”

Ms. Dacey said that although Martha’s Vineyard is a small Island, there is a diverse audience with many different musical interests.

“We’ve always tried to incorporate a lot of local music into our programming, making sure that we were representing the local music culture and the local musicians. What does it feel like to live here, what style of music would work the best? That was the generating idea early on. It’s a very artistic community. I don’t think we could be the same old radio station. We tried to be unique.”

She helped shepherd WMVY through a steady period of growth, not an easy task in a very small radio market with limited advertising potential. The station’s unique format grew organically, partly out of the Island vibe where it originated. Eventually it attracted industry recognition and accolades. The format even got a name: Triple A (adult album alternative).

“In the early days of the station we had to kind of cobble it all together, and then in the late 80s, early 90s we were starting to get a little more attention,” Ms. Dacey said. “We were growing in recognition in the industry. The radio format was on its way.”

Ms. Dacey’s current title is no exaggeration. When the internet began to become popular, WMVY figured out how to get its programming out to the world. Now, more than half the listeners come from its internet stream, according to station manager PJ Finn. It ranks among the most listened to streams in the world.

“We started very early, and that is one of the keys to our success,” she said. “It was very difficult at that time to figure out exactly how to do it. There were technical challenges involved. The fact that we did get in early and built our internet audience, was a real key.”

Little did the WMVY staff know how valuable a homegrown internet audience would become. In the fall of 2012, public radio powerhouse WBUR announced it had purchased the station, and planned to use the 92.7 FM frequency to repeat programming from its Boston studios to the Cape and Island’s audience. Just after the new year in 2013, an engineer in Boston flipped a switch, and WMVY was off the air.

As soon as the news hit about WBUR’s purchase of their frequency, WMVY began a fund raising campaign. In just thee months, the station reached its goal of raising $600,000 in pledges. It was money enough to stay on the internet for a year, and figure out what to do next.

“That was a very, very challenging time,” said Ms. Dacey. “Are you kidding, what are we going to do? Are we going to make it? That was a time when we had to muster all of our strength and go with a strategy and an idea. People had to really believe in us, and we had to believe in ourselves.”

In May of 2014, the station returned to the airwaves at the 88.7 FM frequency, as a completely reinvented business. The now public radio station had underwriters instead of advertising, and ran fund raising campaigns asking listeners for donations. Ms. Dacey was the first voice listeners heard, and she called the rebirth of WMVY one of the highlights of her career, a real triumph.

“Ultimately it was such a challenge, I think it propelled us, I know it propelled us into the stability and health we have now as a public radio station,” she said. “It gave our listeners a chance to be part of the solution. It’s a much better business model for us, and it’s brought us so much closer to our listeners.”

Ms. Dacey will sign off from WMVY around the turn of the new year. She said she will miss the station, and hasn’t ruled out some future role in front of a microphone or behind the scenes.

“This is a special radio station,” she said. “Right from the start it always was. It was people that really loved music, and loved the Vineyard, and loved the looseness of it. The station has always been loose. And natural. I think that’s why I was attracted to it.”