In the beginning, there was no sound…
Durring the second World War, Martha’s Vineyard was a strategic air and naval base, as it was so far east. Also being that Martha’s Vineyard is tall and alone at sea, it was deemed a good place to broadcast allied radio signals. Since then, vacationers of all sorts have flocked to this tiny, glacial deposit for respite of all sorts. One of them continues to be a respite form normal radio transmission, as the airwaves from Martha’s Vineyard Island have been alive with audible oddity and delight all the while.
A brief and colored recent history on-Island
In June 2001, Martha’s Vineyard Community Radio Inc. was formed after what would become WVVY received a cease broadcast order for their then unlicensed, pirate signal. In December 2004, WVVY received final approval from the FCC to operate the low-power FM station, servicing the Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs communities on Martha’s Vineyard with non-profit, non-commercial, volunteer-offered radio programming by locals of the Island featuring their personal favorites.
WMVY was born on May 1, 1983, with owners Bob and Linda Forrester of Edgartown; later purchased by Philip Kelly and a group from the Midwest in the early 1992, the station is currently owned by Aritaur Communications, whose president and CEO, Joe Gallagher of Newport, Rhode Island, bought the station in 1998. WMVY will attempt to stay alive as an internet station, and look to purchase a new signal outlet for broadcasting its programing.
Signs that the station was struggling were evident in May 2007 when the station announced that, faced with a sizeable increase in royalty payments, it would transform its internet business model from an advertiser-supported business to a listener and corporate underwriting-supported station similar to public radio called “Friends of mvyradio.”
Despite this, WMVY has sold its broadcast signal at 92.7 FM to Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate, WBUR who will simulcast their Hub signal, and will no longer broadcast on the air in FM, as one might listen in their automobile.
Noted NPR producer Jay Allison initiated the idea for WCAI when he moved to the Cape and couldn’t hear his stories on the region’s airwaves. That was twenty years ago, and by 2001 WCAI was up and running under the management of Boston NPR station WGBH. Since then the station has expanded its signal presence to WNAN on Nantucket and WZAI in Brewster, establishing a public radio presence growing ever since.
The one and only Island-wide radio on Martha’s Vineyard this #MVsummer will be the NEW Vineyard Public Radio, a non-commercial FM specializing in Jazz and Martha’s Vineyard simulcasts of such things as Sharks baseball games, fishing and beach reports, and Vineyard Events, coming on-air at 88.7 FM this spring! Stay Tuned, Martha’s Vineyard-
portions of this post credit Steve Merick, the MV times