What is community radio? Not public radio, at least not as it exists in the rarified and fabulously funded world of public stations in New York City; not college radio; certainly not commercial radio. Community radio has its own unique and distinctive flavor: grassroots, local, nonprofit, commercial-free, driven by volunteers, and guided by a mission that focuses on building connections in local communities and serving as a high quality alternative to mainstream media.
It’s also a rare medium: there are only a few hundred community radio stations nationwide, and WDFH is the only one in the lower Hudson valley. Thanks to our recently-completed signal expansion, WDFH now reaches more than 400,000 local residents with music programming and news from right here in the Hudson Valley. That's a forty-fold increase over our previous coverage and is estimated to put us in the top half of community stations nationwide in terms of potential audience served! [pdf coverage map] And of course, WDFH can be heard anywhere on the net and on iPhones and other mobile devices..
We lost our studio space in 2006, and this limits what we can do in terms of programming and other station operations, such as audience-building — without studios and the volunteers that work in them, we can't promote the station to all those new potential listeners.
We're entirely non-profit and noncommercial. That means that we don't have the revenues that commercials would bring in. It also means that our programming can be on a much higher plane than the lowest-common-denominator programming found in commercial media. All contributions in support of WDFH are tax-deductible.
Community radio isn't "free." Like any nonprofit museum or school, WDFH has expenses including rent, insurance, salaries for key staff members, electricity, telephone and telecom services, information technology, and much more. But our budget is modest and tremendously efficient, most importantly because we're powered by volunteers who bring their interests and passions into the station and its programming.
We don't receive institutional, government, or corporate funding, so it's essential that we develop support from the communities and listeners we serve. That's an essential part of the equation. We need to raise private funding so that we can rebuild our studios in new space and pay our ongoing operating expenses.
To do this, we need to expand our Fundraising Committee. Time is of the essence, and there is risk that if we can't meet our funding goals, WDFH may forever be lost as a local resource.
The goal of the Committee is to secure major tax-deductible contributions ($10,000 and up) from people in our area who believe in the many ways in which WDFH can serve our lower Hudson valley communities. What are some of those ways?
When we reinstate our studios, WDFH will...
And that’s not all. We will broadcast in-depth documentaries, extensive political coverage (our 2004 coverage drew national recognition), special programming to connect underrepresented constituencies with a wide audience, daily newsmagazines from Pacifica, and carefully selected public affairs programs from other community stations and independent producers. Our on-air offerings, combined with coming enhancements to our website, will become a key information hub for the entire region.
WDFH has invested most of our resources in recent years in our long-awaited signal expansion, and as a result we have, for the first time ever, a signal that reaches a critical mass of potential listeners.
Because of the loss of our studio space in 2006, we are operating on an automated basis with limited studio production capabilities, and our ability to meet our goals is likewise limited. With the signal expansion now completed, now is the time for us to raise the funding so that we can rebuild WDFH's studios at a new location, greatly expand our community service, and start to put the necessary financial stability in place.
As mentioned, previous fundraising experience is not required — we can provide training. What is important is that prospective Fundraising Committee members have personal contacts, even if through a few degrees of separation, with people who might be in a position to make major donations.
If you're interested in joining our Fundraising Committee, or if you know someone who might be interested, please get in touch today with Marc Sophos, WDFH's founder and executive director (marc -at- wdfh -dot- org). In your e-mail, please include daytime and evening phone numbers, and include "fundraising committee" in the subject line.
Thanks! As mentioned, time is of the essence, and we hope to hear from you soon.
More information about WDFH and its programming is available throughout this web site. An information packet for prospective donors is available at wdfh.org/folder.