Home URBAN Internet radio station makes leap to airwaves

Internet radio station makes leap to airwaves

After a year of being online only, Ocracoke Community WOVV-FM, the island 's first legitimate full-power – and legal – , will soon be filling with local music, news, events and eclectic programming.

Robert Raborn, who launched the idea for the community-focused station more than two years ago, learned Wednesday that funds from a $67,000

federal grant were finally available to order transmission equipment.

WOVV 90.1 FM could be broadcasting 24 hours a day from the village of this isolated barrier island as soon as this summer.

fter a year of being online only, Ocracoke Community Radio WOVV-FM, the island ‘s first legitimate full-power – and legal – radio station, will soon be filling airwaves with local music, news, events and eclectic programming.

Robert Raborn, who launched the idea for the community-focused station more than two years ago, learned Wednesday that funds from a $67,000

federal grant were finally available to order transmission equipment.

WOVV 90.1 FM could be broadcasting 24 hours a day from the village of this isolated barrier island as soon as this summer.

“This is a unique place out here on Ocracoke, and this is a pretty unique project,” Raborn said. “And I think this is the right place to pull it off.”

When Raborn, 40, learned of an opening on the radio band in 2007, the non profit Ocracoke Foundation agreed to sponsor their application.

The 650-watt noncommercial station, supported by donors and operated without advertisements, will officially

range from Portsmouth Island to the Ocracoke Pony Pens, he said, but with the island ‘s flat unobstructed expanses of sand and water, coverage may stretch as far as Hatteras village.

The station’s studio, built with a $10,000 grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation, is on Silver Lake Harbor next to the Anchorage Inn Marina, and the antenna will be soon be built behind the firehouse. Programming and staffing will evolve as progress is made and creative juices flow.

“It’s at a real natural Wild West stage now,” Raborn said.

Currently, the only reliable radio signal heard on the island comes from an off-island country music radio station. One big impetus for the station was to be able to get out timely and accurate information about storms and other events, said Greg Honeycutt, who has been in charge of fundraising.

“It’s going to be extremely valuable,” he said.

But the station also hopes to be the voice of the community with broadcasts of fishing and surfing reports, updates about school events, airing of county meetings, and coverage of school sporting events. Local musicians have been frequent guests of the station already.

Villagers, visitors, businesses, nonprofit donors and out-of-town property owners have responded enthusiastically to fundraising efforts, said Honeycutt, a businessman who moved to the island in 1997 from Dare County.

“This whole thing has been very grass-roots,” he said. “We have had a lot of people that have jumped on the band wagon and see the value of the station.”

A $67,000 grant was awarded last September by the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, and Honeycutt headed a campaign to raise the required $22,000 match – which he said was recently met, mostly with large donations from off-island sponsors. Donors also contributed in small amounts online.