Rashkin, left, and Paul Krapf, are photographed at
WADR-FM in Janesville. Both have helped launch WADR-FM
from the Internet to an over-the-air station. The
station, one of the latest low-powered radio stations
in Wisconsin to begin broadcasting, went on the air
last month and was formed by community members who
raised funds and volunteered to get the station up and
- Local radio is on the rise in a big way even though the
towers are short, the transmitters the size of home stereo
receivers and the talent in need of more polish.
dedication and a willingness to share locally produced
programming that traditional commercial stations have
abandoned, however, are abundant.
Janesville, the second floor studio of WADR-FM/103.5 is in
what had been a historic home that later was converted to
office space, a news outlet reported. In Monona, studios are
housed in City Hall, and in Sun Prairie, in the city's Media
Center adjacent to the public library.
trio of stations is among the state's newest low-powered FM
radio stations making local programming a priority in a day
of syndication, automation and conglomeration.
really empowering for communities and for individuals,"
said Yuri Rashkin, one of the founders of WADR. "It's
making it easier for voices to be heard."
stations are taking off across the country after the FCC
announced in 2012 that it would open up frequencies for 300
stations. Now, many of those stations, with limited signals,
have either just begun or are about to begin broadcasting a
wide range of programming that can include local news,
events, government meetings, high school sports, music from
multiple genres, Bible scripture, comedy and programs aimed
at specific ethnic cultures.
districts, city governments, churches, foundations and other
nonprofits are among those that have applied for the
this July 22nd photo, a sign for WADR-FM in Janesville
is shown. The radio is the latest low-powered radio
station in Wisconsin to begin broadcasting. The
station was formed by community members and unlike
stations in Monona and Sun Prairie, is not operated by
Black Earth, for example, the Mazomanie Music Conservancy,
formed in 2010 to promote area music, has been awarded a
station at 92.5 FM.
northwestern Jefferson County, the Waterloo Christian Radio
Corporation has been assigned 96.9 FM while in Portage, the
Seventh-Day Adventists have 93.5 FM. None have begun
so in Rock County, where at 100 watts, WADR blankets
Janesville and can be heard a mile or two beyond the city
limits, depending on the terrain.
costs were less than $20,000, with much of the work and
equipment donated for the ambitious project. The station
signed on the air June 24 and held a grand opening
celebration on Friday after streaming programming on the
Internet since late 2013.
can actually turn on your radio and hear it now," said
Gordy LaChance, an information technology manager for the
city who put in countless volunteer hours setting up the
have referred to us as hobby radio but we wanted to show
that this is a professional operation and I think we've
its low budget and all-volunteer staff, the station looks
and sounds professional.
is where listeners can hear Oscar Wilson host Big Daddy O's
Blues Garage, Edie Baran talk about the local arts scene and
Esther Turner relieve stress with her Mindful Mondays
program. Ray and Annette Jewell deliver local church
activities, there's a Spanish language program and there is
talk of creating a polka show.
going to happen," said Rashkin. "To be in
Wisconsin and not have a polka show . come on."
Rashkin talks in the offices of WADR-FM in Janesville.
Rashkin and Paul Krapf have helped launch WADR-FM from
the Internet to an over-the-air station. The station,
one of the latest low-powered radio stations in
Wisconsin to begin broadcasting, went on the air last
month and was formed by community members who raised
funds and volunteered to get the station up and
County is home to WIDE-FM/99.1 on the Southwest Side, which
went on the air in 2008 and is run out of program director
Bob Park's garage. WIXL-FM/97.1 is licensed to Lake City
Church, 4909 E. Buckeye Road, and signed on in 2007, while
there are plans for stations for the Lussier Community
Education Center on the Far West Side, Madison Christian Low
Power FM near Monona and the First Unitarian Society of
Madison with an antenna in Downtown Madison.
of the more notable projects in the Madison area are hitting
the on-air button this summer.
licensed through the Sun Prairie Community Foundation, began
testing Thursday and is scheduled to begin regular
programming on Monday. The $30,000 station, with a 100-watt
signal, has an antenna mounted on a water tower near the Sun
Prairie Aquatic Center and will ultimately broadcast a wide
variety of local programming to listeners in a 5- to 6-mile
station, with about 50 volunteers and funding from cable
access fees and fundraisers, is housed in the same facility
as KSUN, Sun Prairie's long-running community access
feel like we're hitting the ground running because we have
so much programming on our TV station that we'll
repurpose," said Jeff Robbins, the media center's
executive director. "I think community radio is putting
the power of media back into the hands of citizens. It's an
Monona, the $116,000 in startup costs for WVMO-FM/98.7 is
being funded by fees assessed to cable subscribers. The
station is located in city hall, "is equipped with
top-of-the-line broadcast gear" and has an antenna
mounted to a cellphone tower on top of the hose tower for
the Monona Fire Department.
Nimmow, city media director, is working with longtime radio
executive Lindsay Wood Davis on the project. More than 20
volunteers have expressed interest in creating programming
that includes jazz, classic rock and some shows using vinyl
records. There will be news from Monona City Council and
Monona Grove School Board meetings along with interviews of
local officials and segments on the city's history.
will begin in August but the official launch is set for Aug.
21 with the broadcast of the Monona Grove High School
football game at Mount Horeb. The station's signal will
blanket Monona, Madison's Downtown and East Side, and could
possibly reach as far as McFarland, Maple Bluff and
Madison's Near West Side.
has to be a service just like the community center or the
library," Nimmow said. "It's pretty amazing how
many people we're getting involved. Hopefully, they'll stay
Janesville, WADR (Wisconsin's Alternative Destination Radio)
is the result of community members coming together and
creating Janesville Community Radio. A group of what is now
40 volunteers, led by a seven-person board of directors,
applied for the license through the United Arts Alliance, a
nonprofit county arts coalition formed in 1996. The group,
with no ties to the city, was granted a license in June
support comes through donations, volunteers and underwriting
by area businesses and organizations.
41, who teaches at UW-Whitewater and interprets Russian in
area court cases, is the longtime host of Discover
Janesville, a podcast that now has a home on the air.
could be considered a smaller version of WORT-FM in Madison
and a younger WDRT-FM in Viroqua. Both are successful
community-oriented radio stations, although WADR has the
unique distinction of airing 40 Beloit Snappers minor league
baseball games this summer, even though the broadcast signal
doesn't reach the stadium. The team had been buying time on
another station. When it couldn't reach an agreement, it
bought time on WADR, providing a welcome revenue stream for
the upstart operation and an opportunity for the Snappers to
reach listeners in Janesville.
the only community radio station that I'm aware of anywhere
that has a professional or semiprofessional team,"
Rashkin said. "It was a match made in heaven."
is far from lacking when it comes to radio. The city is home
to two popular commercial stations owned by Southern
Wisconsin Broadcasting and located just down the street from
WADR. WJVL-FM/99.9 is a powerful country music station that
delivers news, school closings and does local remote
broadcasts. At 1230 AM is WCLO, a news-talk station that
covers local news, agriculture happenings, high school
sports and carries Badgers, Bucks, Brewers and Packers
games. It also airs more than 14 hours of nationally
syndicated programming a day, according to its website.
Krapf, 41, a former truck driver and General Motors worker
turned radio guy, is WADR's chief operator who keeps a
laptop close to him to monitor the station and, if need be,
has an app on his smartphone that allows him to broadcast
from anywhere. This week, the station will broadcast from
the Rock County 4H Fair and a block party could be in the
works for next summer.
just kind of dove into this head-first just trying to help
out, and it turned into a full-time thing," said Krapf,
who doesn't draw a salary. "I like it. For every
struggle that comes up, we've seemed to find a solution and
worked through it. We use what we have and make it