The popular independent AAA station, “MVYRadio,” has been on the air in Martha’s Vineyard, MA for nearly three decades. Aritaur sold the 92.7 mHz signal to Boston University’s WBUR-FM, the NPR affiliate there, and needed to reach its fundraising goal 1/25, one day before the deadline.
“We made our goal,” director of programming Barbara Dacey told the Vineyard Gazette. “We’re pretty excited.”
Pledges will fund station operation including salaries, programming and administrative costs for a year so the station can continue as an online presence, operated by the nonprofit organization “Friends of mvy.”
The station continues to search for a new FM signal so that it can continue on the airwaves in addition to online. On 1/17, the FCC approved the transfer of the license to WBUR. While it isn’t yet clear when WBUR will start broadcasting on 92.7, it could be soon.
Dacey and Alison Hammond announced the achievement on the air at about 4:20 Friday afternoon, highlighting the 3,715 pledges received. Ms. Hammond started crying, and the station played some Barry Manilow: Looks Like We Made It.
The fundraising goal to stay on-air was $600,000 in 60 days. Aritaur sold the signal for a reported $715,000, and has said it will transfer all other assets to the nonprofit organization. In 1998 Aritaur bought WMVY from Broadcast Properties for $1 million.
The fundraising effort got off to a quick start and never really lost momentum, fueled by pleas from national and local musicians to save the station. Singer Carly Simon took out a full-page ad in the Gazette on the station’s behalf, and Bonnie Raitt recorded an interview about how much the station means to her and other musicians. The campaign attracted national press coverage in the New York Times.
The fundraising effort showed the station’s wide appeal: donations came in from 15 countries and, as of Thursday night, all 50 states. (North Dakota was the remaining holdout; Ryan from Fargo corrected that with a pledge.)
RBR-TVBR observation: As we’ve said, the local station likely isn’t pulling in enough money year ‘round to pay for the electricity and upkeep of the Class A station. They will save money by going online-only and can accept donations globally as a non-profit. What will likely happen is they will keep their two existing translators in Massachusetts and add another one in the current coverage area.