WRIR-LP 97.3 FM welcomes the area's non-profits, artists, newsmakers and community services as guests on our shows. Every day a WRIR-produced program features a local voice or artist. When people listen to WRIR-LP from around the world, they are learning about Richmond's people, arts and culture. Nearly all of WRIR's programs are produced in our studio, in the heart of Richmond.
WRIR-LP 97.3 FM collaborates with the area's cultural venues, non-profits & festivals. WRIR-LP gets out of the studio and into the heart of the city through our collaborations with many of the city's popular arts and cultural organizations. WRIR has collaborated with Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Diversity Richmond, Side By Side, Art180, First Fridays, Gallery 5, Strange Matter, Glave Kocen Gallery, Firehouse Radio Players and Virginia Anti-Violence Program.
In January 2015, WRIR celebrated it's tenth year of programming; a feat that reflects the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. In 2000, a small group of citizens were frustrated with radio in Richmond. What they heard on the radio dial did not represent the diversity or voice of Richmond. Over 80% of Richmond radio stations were not owned locally and their broadcasts were fed from stations out of state. A small group of dedicated people wanted to create a voice in radio that was uniquely "Richmond." They began broadcasting as an internet radio station in a basement. They started grassroots fundraising for a licensed FM frequency.
Starting a new radio station in 2000 cost millions of dollars. Few FM frequencies were available. At the time, the FCC began organizing a new bandwidth, LPFM. The FCC stated that obtaining, owning and operating an LPFM station would be much easier for the community.
The group left the basement and found themselves testifying before Congress on the necessity of community-based LPFM stations. In 2003, the FCC established LPFM and WRIR was permitted to test one of the first LPFM frequencies available on US airwaves.
In 2004, community support for WRIR was astounding. Donors, volunteers, nonprofits and large and small businesses understood what community programming would do to make Richmond a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Beginning in 2005, WRIR began broadcasting. 200 volunteers manage, produce and DJ at the station. Each week, volunteers produce 18 locally-oriented news programs and 67 music programs. WRIR broadcasts national, progressive programs like Democracy Now and The Takeaway.
The LPFM bandwidth between 2005 and 2010 was highly regulated and difficult to obtain. WRIR worked with national lobbing groups, Homeland Security and bi-partisan congressmen in both the House and the Senate to expand the availability of LPFM to community groups across the county. WRIR’s is applauded for excellent community-municipality cooperation and regarded nationally as a benchmark of community excellence.
WRIR is seen as the flagship for the LPFM movement. The business model, programming, volunteer organization and community outreach is considered the ideal of what a small community radio station should be.
The measurable results happen within our station. WRIR is an all volunteer nonprofit. Many of our volunteers come to us looking to fulfill dreams that they cannot do elsewhere. They are often temporarily unemployed, students, mothers or people looking to change their career. Or they may just have a fantastic idea for a show. Our volunteers are trained in many areas of basic business practices: team leadership, marketing, office management or technology. They also become radio experts. Dozens of our volunteers have gone on, because of their WRIR education, to work in either radio or media related jobs. WRIR is not just a stepping stone, but a foundation, for the success of our volunteers throughout the community.
WRIR has partnered with the City of Richmond to disseminate emergency life saving information to our listeners when a crisis arises. WRIR was prepared to open its doors to the chief of police, the fire department or Homeland Security if the need arises. We saw the partnership as part of our mission and an inherent part of being a community radio station.
The airwaves belong to the people and WRIR has been entrusted to work for their needs. WRIR is doing its best to make sure our frequency represents and gives back to the people that have supported us.
WRIR-LP 97.3 FM produces and airs 58 hours of public affairs programs every week. Of that WRIR volunteers produce 25% of the content head on the public affairs schedule. All of WRIR programs must reflect WRIR's mission. WRIR's programs feature the arts, community services, legal matters and even soccer. WRIR volunteers also produce 3 short-form public affairs modules. The Rainbow Minute, focuses on LGBT history, is produced at WRIR-LP and syndicated nationally.
WRIR broadcasts nationally syndicated programs such as Pacifica's "Democracy Now" and independently syndicated shows such as "Harry Shearer's Le Show," "The Thomas Jefferson Hour," "CounterSpin," and "This Way Out."
For more than a decade, WRIR has raised funds and built an independent community radio station. We rebuilt our main studio, improved the clarity of our broadcast, updated our technology and grew into the public’s trust.
We are proud of our success this past decade, but are already looking ahead to the next ten. During this next phase we must perfect our content, outreach and leadership. We must exceed our goals and expand.
That said, to accomplish this, the challenge is two-fold. The first portion is the on-going need for reliable funding. The immediate allocation of our resources goes to daily operations costs of running a quality community radio station. The second is for capital improvements like maintaining our broadcast technology.
For now we can exist only thanks to the financial support by individuals and businesses. We have outstanding support, so WRIR has outstanding programs. We need to maintain our funding to continue our high-caliber of work, but will need increased funding to take WRIR to the next level. Without consistent funding WRIR will miss the opportunity to expose and showcase the great aspects and challenges of life in Richmond.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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