Volunteer-Powered WSFM (Asheville FM) Launches
May 15, 2015 at 12:24 PM (PT)
WSFM (ASHEVILLE FM), a new station in the NORTH CAROLINA town at 103.3, originally born in online form in 2009, is set to hit the airwaves MONDAY, MAY 18th, according to the local CITIZEN-TIMES.
As a web-based service, it has attracted 1.7 million page views a month from about 6,000 unique visitors globally, impressive for a small nonprofit media organization. When broadcasting begins at 10a (ET) MONDAY, its programming will be available to roughly 100,000 people who move through downtown daily.
The 52 radio shows that ASHEVILLE FM produces and streams online are produced by a team of more than 80 volunteers without pay. For a full programming schedule, visit ashevillefm.org.
The programming is an eclectic mix of sports, pop music, discussions of political and social issues, news, obscure recordings, comedy and more, without any commercial interruptions, a free-form model according to station manager KIM RONEY, a piano teacher by day and a bartender by night.
"It's really going to reflect the community, what's happening at that time ... and it gives you the freedom to really localize and to curate it," she said. "If I want to play a straightahead jazz track ... and then I want to talk about immigration reform, and then when I come out of that talk segment, I'm going to play something that's hip-hop, I have the freedom to format that."
ULTIMATE TWANG, one of the station's most popular shows with around 1,500 online listeners a month, plays old-school Country tracks by artists such as WAYLON JENNINGS, KITTY WELLS and BUCK OWENS.
There's also a local news hour with guests from city government and nonprofits. A Sports Talk show, STEVE SAX SYNDROME, leavens game recaps with jokes.
"What ASHEVILLE FM does really well is, regardless of race, age, gender, creed, political opinion, we're all showing up and working together on the bigger community project of community radio," RONEY said. "So we have people from an anarchist point of view, from a conservative point of view, from different religious points of view all coming together, and we are grouping around this."
All programming gets created in a small blue bungalow in WEST ASHEVILLE where the station shares space with a local attorney.
ASHEVILLE FM's budget has risen from $15,200.to a projected $64,730, raising money evenly through underwiting with local businesses, twice-yearly fundraisers and membership dues. FCC regulations prohibit it from selling advertising on the airwaves. Membership dues are $20 a month. The outlet plans to hire a paid station manager in the near future with some of the money.
The station is currently raising more funds to help support its transition to the airwaves through an INDIEGOGO campaign at igg.me/at/AshevilleFM.