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Local Radio, WDEV style

I found this article in Boston.com an interesting read:

Vermont’s unsung Hurricane Hero

Just as the flood waters were rising and people in Vermont were struggling to escape their homes with merely the clothing on their backs:

…when I checked the CBS Evening News moments later, I watched in astonishment as the head of the National Hurricane Center, with a sweep of his hand toward Vermont, declared that the danger had passed. The storm was over, and overblown. The national media, focused on New York City, missed where Irene hit hardest. Vermont simply didn’t exist.

This is why radio, localy owned, locally run radio is vitally important.  In the midst of disaster, WDEV opened it’s phone lines to the listeners and received information about flooded roads, people needing to be rescued, evacuation centers and a whole host of other things that kept the people informed and the potential death toll low.  All of this while the power was out, the cable system disabled, the internet unavailable and battery powered radios were people’s only information source.

I have driven by the WDEV AM site in Waterbury, VT several times.  It sits back on a hill side off of US Route 2/I-89 with three, what look like Miliken self supporting towers.  It signed on in 1931 and has been owned by the Squier family since 1935.  An FM signal was added in 1989.  Stations like this are one of the reasons I still work in this business.

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2 comments to Local Radio, WDEV style

  • Gary Chase

    My father was Chief Engineer of WDEV in the late 40’s well into the 60’s, my first job was at WDEV. Got my ticket in sophmore year in HS and had transmitter shift and classical radio show. That radio station is also my reason for staying in the communications industry. My life’s path led me into television where I was one of 3 engineers that automated the first commercial television station in the world, led the development of the technical implementation of closed captioning into television sets, planned and executed the video requirements for 15 space shuttle flights, and handled video intelligence gathering projects for several of the Intel Agencies.

    Funny how small businesses, like WDEV was at that time, can foster successes far beyond what is normally expected.

  • Paul Thurst

    Gary, you are right. A lot of people look to the big players for technical “talent.” I have found many small and medium markets produce top notch technical people with less politics. BTW, I drove by the WDEV site a few days ago on my way back from Stowe, VT.

Axiom


A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An optimist sees the glass as half full. The engineer sees the glass as twice the size it needs to be.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
~1st amendment to the United States Constitution

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
~Benjamin Franklin

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
~Rudyard Kipling

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
~Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, Article 19

...radio was discovered, and not invented, and that these frequencies and principles were always in existence long before man was aware of them. Therefore, no one owns them. They are there as free as sunlight, which is a higher frequency form of the same energy.
~Alan Weiner

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