Reflections on the GRC Conference

Reflections on the GRC Conference

By M Sebastian Araujo

I truly enjoyed being part of this virtual conference…It was GREAT to see and hear so many amazing people talk about how and what they are doing to not just cope with all that is happening, but what is on the way and how to kee your head and heart looking forward.

Fri: TOOLS in the TOOL BOX for WORKING REMOTELY was very informative and encouraging as we are all going rogue just now.
Really liked how things were broken down and explained…also how things like making sure you get the OK to record the interview instead just going on air live.

Sat: BEAUTIFUL PROCESS FOR UGLY TIMES was great and informative, but the most helpful part was the sharing of stories and the sense of community. It was very heartening to see and hear true professionals and non who are doing this 24/7 all year long. NO MATTER WHAT!

Sun: POWER TO THE PEOPLE I was really looking forward to hearing about how diversity has changed and where we are now as broadcasters and more. Again not just the tech skill sets of the speakers but the passion was really great to see and hear.

 My take was that this thing we all do…is truly an important thing. Sometimes it may not feel that way in obvious ways and we may feel like why are we doing it…or is anyone really listening and is my part in this story of our lives really meaningful? After listening to so many great people this weekend, yes it does matter, MORE than we may realize. whether your show is playing music or interviewing or news oriented…EVERYTHING We are Doing Matters and People are listening and perhaps even using our shows as way of staying informed and learning and just to know there are others out there who care and are trying to make a difference is a HUGE thing.

Thank you for this chance to participate and I am looking forward to my own show RE BOOT.

With Gratitude and Respect
M Sebastian Araujo
“WE ARE VERMONT”

Grassroots Radio Conference:

Going live, connecting, true JEDI work, and redefining quality.

By DJ Llu

I now have a radio crush on ArtxFM, WXOX, Louisville, thanks to the annual Grassroots Radio Conference. Each year, a community radio station hosts this conference (usually in person) and the fine folks at ArtxFM were all set to bring programmers and station leaders to Kentucky as they hosted this year—but COVID had other plans. ArtxFM rose to the challenge and pulled off a really valuable virtual conference, all while showcasing a number of their programmers (moderating panels, leading sessions, and holding social time) and broadcasting much of the conference live on the air too. 

It is clear ArtxFM is a station full of passionate programmers, using the air-waves to activate their community through music and activism. In the time of COVID and located in the heart of the Breanna Taylor protests (Louisville is where Breanna was murdered by the police), ArtxFM made it a priority to get and keep programmers on the air. They turned their entire station remote in just a few weeks this spring. They figured out the easiest tech for home broadcasting and broadcasting in the field from the city protests so that programmers could get their content out, live on the air. I encourage you to check out this station to learn more: https://www.artxfm.com

Attending the conference sessions on how they did all this, as well as hearing about how this all-volunteer station (and others) have really stepped up to meet their communities’ needs for connection during COVD over the air-waves has reenergized me about the power of radio. And, it has me thinking about three recommendations for WBTV-LP:

  • Get all programmers set up to go live from home. ArtxFM shared with us very easy to replicate set-ups to do this! And, it would help us provide critical live content for our community as we continue to ride out this pandemic here in Burlington into the winter. 
  • Create more community connection among programmers. We should find ways to bring our programmers together online once a quarter or once a month to keep us all connected. This is such an isolating time, seeing and hearing each other could really recharge our creative batteries!
  • (JEDI) Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in community radio. We are living through a defining moment about who holds power in our country, in our communities and in our organizations. GRC held a panel on JEDI needs and strategies that really pushed all of us to answer hard questions: what are we doing to be a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive at every level of WBTV-LP and our partners at the Media Factory? Who is at the table of decision-makers? Who is not? Who are paid staff? Who are not? Are our outreach efforts to increase our inclusion working? Do we walk our mission and values around JEDI work? What does accountability look like? What learning do we need to undertake? What do we need to change? There is a lot to unpack here. As a station that is still relatively new, I think we have an opportunity to really step up in having these hard conversations and doing this work at all levels of the station. How could we start these conversations as a station?
  • Redefine “quality” radio. A presenter made a great point at GRC. Traditionally, even community radio has held a high standard for the “professional” nature of the sound quality we are all going for. Normally, anyone could access the high-quality gear by joining a station and using a studio. During COVID, community programmers have had to work with what they had at home for gear, sometimes using just a headphone mic and a streaming music platform off their laptop—not exactly the highest quality audio. The result actually creates more access for programmers, more creativity, and more immediacy. Perhaps we should realign our thinking about what quality means to us now? I think it is about the content of what is being said and shared and how often, less about the actual sound.

I’m happy to connect with any programmer or station leadership who wants to hear more about the conference and how we can infuse other stations’ successes into how WBTV-LP operates. Drop me a line: thelluvia@gmail.com.

CCTV & 99.3 FM Team Up for Town Meeting!

Tune in to WBTV-LP on 3/3/20 starting at 7:00 pm for complete Town Meeting election results coverage!

WBTV-LP is teaming up with Channel 17 Town Meeting Television again this year to bring you the latest election news with hosts Diane Meyerhoff and Matt Kelley providing live coverage, including the results of local races, ballot items, voter interviews, and more.

Your Community, Your Radio.

Did you know we have over 40 locally-produced radio shows each and every week on WBTV-LP? Tune in to 99.3 FM on your radio dial in the Burlington area or stream online. Hear a chorus of community voices, local perspectives, and some amazing music!

WBTV-LP, Burlington – Your community, your radio.

Dion “Skeeter” Lawyer-Sanders |April 8, 1953 – October 24, 2019

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of WBTV-LP programmer Skeeter Sanders. He was incredibly dedicated to his show, “The Quiet Storm”, and to community media. Through radio broadcasting, he shared his love of R&B, Soul, and Smooth Jazz in his adopted home of Vermont. Skeeter was also a passionate spokesperson for and fierce advocate of equal rights for all people.

A native of New York City, Skeeter began broadcasting in 1998 on WGDR-FM, the community radio station at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. In 2015, he began syndicating his show via the Pacifica Radio Network. Twenty public and community radio stations nationwide carry “The Quiet Storm”, a show that has been entertaining listeners in the Burlington area on WBTV-LP since November 2017. For over twenty years, Skeeter brought us smooth jazz with a touch of soul from the heart of the Green Mountains in the tradition of the Quiet Storm radio format which began in 1976. 

All of us at WBTV-LP will miss you, Skeeter.

Skeeter in the WGDR booth.