Real Community Radio

Real Community Radio
Real Community Radio
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By the community, for the community.


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Eric Walter’s running his Wide Ear Folk program

Although it’s not radio station WRIR’s mantra, it could be. They started broadcasting 10 years ago on an admittedly shoe-string budget of $12,000. Today, WRIR has grown to be one of the country’s most successful low power FM radio stations (non-commercial with a typical signal radius of less than 5 miles). The station depends heavily on community involvement for funding, operations and programming. This dependence is the source of the station’s success.


The majority of the station’s 24/7 programming is locally produced, augmented with some subscription programming. The local programs, all produced by volunteers, range from music to news and public affairs. (SIFTER’s TVJerry airs his theater reviews on WRIR several times a week). The RVA community has responded so well to locally originated programming that, according to 10-year board member James Hickman, the station has been forced (happily) to expand its production capabilities. They’ve already taped off office floor space, ala WKRP’s Les Nessman, for their new studio.




Music program hosts have two-hour slots to showcase music that’s important to them. This often includes live performances by local talent and occasional touring acts. The fact that real, live people are “running the board” and creating the diverse programming isn’t lost on James Snider of local indie folk rock band Haints in the Holler. They performed recently during Eric Walter’s Tuesday evening Wide Ear Folk program.





The new studio outlined on the floor.

For local bands, having this outlet is a huge opportunity. On average, the station hosts one band per week in their live studio B. As the Haint’s Julie Storey emphasizes, “To a band like ours, it means everything. Not every city offers such exposure to local bands like ours.” Since the station is also streamed on the web, the potential audience stretches far beyond Richmond.


WRIR successfully completed the second of two yearly fund drives last week, raising over $34,000. These funds will go towards operating expenses and expanding their production capabilities; donations of time, money and creativity are always appreciated.


Watch Video

Haints in the Holler

Dan Kelly: drums

Julie Storey: guitar

Jason Snider: bass

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