WMVY-FM Martha’s Vineyard to be sold to WBUR


The popular independent AAA station, “MVYRadio,” has been on the air on the Vineyard for nearly three decades. Aritaur Communications plans to sell the 92.7 FM signal to Boston University’s WBUR-FM, the NPR affiliate in Boston.

WBUR announced the purchase on its website and in a press release 11/27. The sale is still subject to FCC approval and is expected to be completed in early 2013.

WBUR says it hopes to use the signal to expand its presence on the Cape and Islands and south coast area. “We believe that the Islands, Cape Cod and south coast are important parts of the community we cover and serve,” said WBUR GM Charlie Kravetz in the release. “WBUR has long wanted to meet demand from listeners in this region.”

WMVY plans to change over to a nonprofit, online enterprise if it can raise enough money. WMVY was a pioneer in online streaming and enjoys a worldwide audience. A pledge drive to raise $600,000 by the end of January was announced on the MVY website this morning. “This is real. We must evolve. Or face extinction.”

WMVY owner Joe Gallagher will transfer programming and all other assets to the station’s nonprofit arm Friends of mvyradio: “The goal is to continue broadcasting mvyradio’s unique music programming through its online, live streaming . . . and look for a more affordable solution to return to the FM airwaves,” Gallagher said in the release. “The mission of Friends of mvyradio in the next 60 days will be to raise enough pledges from listeners and fans of the nearly 30-year-old independent radio station to sustain mvyradio’s programming and staff and find a solution to continue its broadcasting operations.”

“We hope our devoted listeners, and the residents and businesses of Martha’s Vineyard will respond and help us continue the ground-breaking digital streaming programming which has become mvyradio’s mainstay while we search for an affordable FM home,” Gallagher added. “Our ambitious goal is for mvyradio to evolve into a fully listener-supported streaming music channel and broadcast our programming on a new FM commercial-free signal. It’s an ideal scenario which will require significant fund-raising, but we’re committed to making it happen.”

WMVY first began broadcasting 29 years ago and is known for its friendly on-air presence and eclectic community programming, says The Vineyard Gazette. Weekly music shows have ranged from Peter Simon’s Private Collection to regular spots focusing on the Grateful Dead, Beatles, blues, Sunday morning jazz and world music. Barbara Dacey, the longtime deejay and director of music and programming who got her start at the station doing ad voice work more than 25 years ago, has interviewed dozens of musical artists on the air through the years from Judy Collins to Carly Simon to John Mayer.

In 1998 Gallagher and his Aritaur Communications bought WMVY from Broadcast Properties for $1 million.

See The Vineyard Gazette story here

RBR-TVBR observation: The audiences of stations such as WMVY are largely listening over the internet. The local station likely isn’t pulling in enough money year ‘round to pay for the electricity and upkeep of the Class A station. What will likely happen is they will keep the two translators also in Massachusetts and add another one in the current coverage area. Again, like Indie103.1 in LA (which went online-only and the FM went to a larger audience of Hispanic listeners), cutting edge music stations are now catering most to an online listenership, while traditional radio listening is aging and/or moving to spoken word.