Thursday, January 15, 2015

Shortest Lived LPFM

I think this set a record for the shortest-lived LPFM radio station. 95.7 WXDB existed for all of 6 weeks on paper. In reality it probably wasn't even that long. The seeds of it's destruction were sown in it's genesis. Let's rewind back to February of 2014. More here.

The station was founded by Burr Beard. You may know him as the somewhat controversial GM who left 91.1 WTJU-FM after just six months in the drivers seat. [SOURCE] If you know that WTJU is in Charlottesville, VA you may have already figured out that Beard relocated to Chareston, WV to start a community radio station. The "community" part was surprisingly not the whole problem. Burr wanted to start an American a radio station in Charlottesville. In other words, WXDB was his second try. The prior  year he did a stint as SM 88.7 WNCW, and later GM of 90.3 WXLV before it's sale to Four Rivers. His real claim to fame was a 9-year stretch running 88.1 WDIY in Bethlehem, PA. He'd also been a DJ at WYEP, WUNC, WXYZ, and WRQM. More here. He also plays a mean hammered dulcimer.

As "Roots Town Radio" the station began raising funds to build WXDB. Beard organized and trained a staff of volunteers:  Larry Hoskins, Alasha Al-Qudwah, Emmett Pepper  and many others. They raised $1,000 from a crowd funding campaign on the website Indiegogo and managed to score $10,000 in grants from from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, and the Tamarack Artisan Foundation. It was enough to turn on the lights and start broadcasting September 7th of 2014.

The first sign of a problem was when Dawn Warner, Beard’s ex-girlfriend, the President of Roots Town Radio fired him. Yeah. So, about a week after the station debuted, Dawn and Burr were splittsville. The station engineer alerted staff that Burr was out and their Facebook page even bore that update. But then by September 15th Burr was back. This was further complicated by the fact that Dawn Warner’s son, Nemo, was serving on the station's governing board, but also not showing up. But by September 29th it was Dawn leaving the station and Burr staying. If you felt it was volatile you're right. On October 18th Burr quit.

Two days later hat day, Dawn Warner the ex-president of WXDB contacted the FCC and surrendered the station’s construction permit, shutting down the station for good. Most news sources liek to point out that the station volunteers blame her. On 10-23 the FCC recorded "Construction Permit Cancelled and Callsign Deleted 10/20/2014 per permittee's request"