WGOT’s last stand: Is community radio sustainable?

By Fred Sowder, WGOT Station Coordinator 

Here at your community radio station, fundraising has been our top priority as of late. We had quite a successful Facebook fundraiser and would love to finally have a proper 15th birthday party benefit, should the right situation arise with interested bands and a venue. 

We’ve recently held events such as yard sales to raise funds in addition to the usual online revenue generators (Patreon, GoFundMe, Venmo, etc.). The bottom line is that other sources of funding that we’ve relied on in the past have since dried up and we’re in a desperate need of that revenue replacement. 

It’s become quite stressful for many of us and we’re considering all of our options at this point. I’m also approached by people at least a few times a month thinking I’m involved with another community radio station named after a diminutive marsupial while having to remind them that we’re not that station. We’ve been around over a decade and a half, after all.

For those of you unfamiliar with us (and after tabling at a recent luncheon, that seems to be a whole lot of you), WGOT has been a low power FM community radio station, founded by the Civic Media Center, broadcasting at 100.1FM for the past several years, after sharing its signal with a couple of church groups for the first decade of its existence. 

We carry national programs such as Democracy Now! With Amy Goodman and the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, as well as long-running local programs such as The Red Pony Music Hour, Departure, Cramela Mix Show, and Hippie Sessions. These programs range from news to folk, electronic, and indie music. We’ve been proudly diverse from the very beginning.

If you missed it on air, I’ve announced that I will have to, unfortunately, step back from WGOT at the end of this year. 

Many of us left who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the radio station are in the infamous “middle generation squeeze,” where we’re simultaneously raising children while taking care of our aging parents. And often at the same time, we’re handling our own health issues. 

After nearly 16 years, it’s becoming more and more apparent that community radio, at least in its current FM form, is more and more unsustainable, especially from a financial standpoint. 

Regardless of what happens, many of us would like to see a continued electronic media presence at the Civic Media Center. It could be a streaming radio station (anybody remember GROW Radio?), a collection of podcasts (they’re just like radio shows, after all), or something else. 

We’d like to thank all of our volunteers and sponsors who’ve made WGOT’s existence possible over the past fifteen-plus years. We also wouldn’t have survived this long without our endless list of current and mostly former volunteers, some of whom have and continue to donate their time from overseas. 

Most importantly, though, it’s our donors, many from out of town and even outside of Florida, who’ve kept us going for so long. 

In the meantime, if you’d like to donate to our cause, you can do so via Venmo by paying @WGOT4ever. Or you can email us at info@wgot.org with any offers of radio expertise you may have. We’d love to have you. Frankly, WGOT’s future very much depends on it. Thank you.

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