As it nears its 10th anniversary next year, local community radio WRIR 97.3 FM only wants to get more local.
Right now that calls for more space and building a new studio, Studio C, within the station's current apartment-styled space at 1621 W. Broad St.
The all-volunteer station just launched its first online crowdfunding effort, an Indiegogo campaign, to raise $7,000 by Sept. 14. The ultimate goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of the year in order to kick in two matching grants of $20,000 each from the Cabell Foundation and Mary Morton Parsons Foundation.
"We're normally very good at crowd sourcing on the radio," jokes WRIR volunteer Ceci Hull. She says Indiegogo campaigns are great for raising small donations and finding new donors. "We want to reach new people with Indiegogo since it has international reach."
Yes, people are tuning into WRIR online in foreign countries in small numbers. "Just the other day a DJ noticed during a live broadcast that there was someone listening online in Afghanistan," Hull says.
Right now the station has one main studio in use 24 hours a day, and a second room that talk show hosts and bands use to perform.
"Scheduling becomes a challenge," Hull says. "We need more room to give us flexibility, everyone is sharing the same equipment. It would be great to have audio and music recording separate."
Hull says there has been increasing interest in recent years from locals in contributing to the station. Some need to be trained, which a new studio would help, she says.
Based on their own informal surveys that go out with donations, the most popular locally produced shows on WRIR are: "Wordy Birds," "Open Source RVA" which got extra attention with extensive coverage of the baseball stadium debate, and on the musical front: "Edge of Americana" - ("bluegrass is most popular," she says) "Global A Go Go," and the "Lotus Land show."
All of this fundraising for a studio space is, of course, in addition to the normal annual fund drives for the daily operating expenses of the station.
"Hard to believe its been 10 years," Hull says. "We really want to get word out about this little station and what we do."
Here is the news release:
What: Indiegogo Campaign to Fund Construction of Studio C: The Community Studio.
Where: WRIR 97.3 FM Studios, 1621 West Broad Street, www.wrir.org.
When: Now through September 14
Why: To Accommodate Growth of Locally-Originated Programming and Music Produced By A Collective of Citizens For The Richmond Community.
How: Go to Indiegogo at igg.me/at/WRIR973FM to make a tax-deductible donation.
About the Campaign to Build Studio C: The Community’s Studio: In 2015, WRIR 97.3 FM will celebrate its 10th anniversary of service to the Richmond community. In order to continue to fulfill its mission of giving voice to underrepresented views in music, politics, culture and life in the greater Richmond area, WRIR FM has steadily increased its locally-originated programming. As a result, more volunteers are using WRIR’s studio to produce programs for its weekly schedule. To accommodate this growth, WRIR must expand its production and broadcasting capabilities within its current space at 1621 W. Broad St.
The listener-supported public radio station is planning the ambitious build-out of a new production studio, Studio C: The Community’s Studio. WRIR FM will launch a 45-day Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign ending on September 14 to raise $7,000 in individual donations. This is a percentage of the $55,000 needed to create and equip Studio C, and will be raised in addition to WRIR’s normal operating funds.
Studio C: The Community’s Studio will accommodate the growing demand for studio time by the volunteers who produce over 160 music and talk programs aired on WRIR 97.3 each week. Musicians will have more opportunities to perform on WRIR FM without the risk of interrupting production of other shows. The Community’s Studio will also facilitate the training of community volunteers who wish to become WRIR DJs, board operators or talk show hosts. Furthermore, the addition of the studio space will allow WRIR to equip a second broadcast studio as a safeguard in times of equipment malfunction and emergency broadcasting.
Two Richmond-area foundations have challenged WRIR FM to raise $20,000 in matching contributions. This is in addition to the funds WRIR needs for its usual operating expenses. WRIR is using Indiegogo, the popular crowd-funding website, to reach a worldwide audience who will be invited to learn about WRIR’s mission and encouraged to donate in support of the studio project. To make a tax-deductible donation, individuals can donate at igg.me/at/WRIR973FM. In addition to the satisfaction of supporting the WRIR FM community, Indiegogo donors will receive a variety of special gifts of thanks including member t-shirts, grab bag goodies, on-air shout-outs, and even recording time in Studio C: The Community’s Studio.