I went to work at WMRA during the waning days of the last century. Close association with the WMRA community has steadily increased both my affection and respect for my colleagues and the WMRA Community of Listeners. And, of course, my absolute, rock-solid belief in the journalistic integrity and educational value of NPR news.
We, the WMRA Community, have a big anniversary coming up this Friday: 35 years of having NPR news as part of our community conversation.
At high noon on November 12, 1975, WMRA blasted into the world of "public radio."
The former 10-watt student-run station, reaching primarily the Madison College campus, fired up a 20,000 watt transmitter up on a mountain and began serving most of the Shenandoah Valley and some of the western Piedmont.
Most importantly, WMRA became an affiliate of NPR, bringing All Things Considered to tens of thousands of Virginians for the first time.
Times passes, people change (except Cher), and this public radio station has changed as well. WMRA has received steady support from James Madison University (who holds our license) and area businesses, and glorious support from listeners. We've grown pretty steadily, changed formats, struggled financially at times (including possibly now as we await possible funding cuts), added and subtracted programs. But, no matter what, I think WMRA has stuck to its stated mission -- informing us and engaging us in worthwhile conversation.
It's 7:32 in the morning, I'm admittedly half-awake, and the day has yet to begin to peck at me like so many hungry ducks. So, as this is an entirely personal essay, what am I feeling as I type this post?
Unabashedly proud to be part of a brave public radio community that's kept itself going for 35 years.
My own membership in the WMRA Community is what I'll really be celebrating, this Friday from 5 to 7 at the WMRA studios, 983 Reservoir Street in Harrisonburg. Won't you, as a fellow community member, join me?
As Tom D. promised in his e-mail, We'll cut the cake(s), give station tours, draw for prizes, maybe even insert your voice into a Car Talk "call!"
And, most of all, congratulate ourselves for being part of WMRA's 35 years of broadcasting NPR news.