WRFI is Ten!
That’s 87,600 hours or more than 5 million minutes! Your hyper-local community radio station is growing in so many ways—and we couldn’t be happier to have you along with us on this radio journey! Here are some updates for you as we approach the end of the year.
We’re adding a new frequency! Can you hear us now? 89.7 FM
WRFI has been notoriously hard to get on radios in certain rural areas around Ithaca and Watkins Glen. (There was even a meme about it!) So, after years of quietly working away on improving our signal, we’re extremely excited to announce that this week we’ll be powering up a new transmitter! You’ll still be able to hear us at 88.1 FM in Ithaca and 91.9 FM in Watkins Glen, but now you’ll also be able to get us in many areas across the region at 89.7FM too!
Reaching farther — At 89.7 FM
This will mean you’ll be able to tune us in in many new areas of the southern Finger Lakes—in town and on your way home. Don’t forget to check us out on your radio dial at our new frequency 89.7FM and let us know where you’re picking us up!
Tests of the new equipment are in early stages—and not yet at full power—and only experience will reveal the exact range of the new listening area. But many areas both close to Ithaca and farther away should be able to pick us up well! Tell your friends in Newfield, Enfield, Danby, Elmira, Horseheads, Cortland, even Waverly! Let us know how it comes in for you!
Our goal is to reach more people with our unique programming and provide more reliable service to people across our region. We look forward to amplifying new voices, reaching new communities, and building a more connected Finger Lakes and we’re thrilled to be embarking on this new together with you!
The project was funded by a special capital campaign with major support from Linear Research Associates, John Young and Ingrid Jensen (in memory of Judith Young), Roger Beck, and Marty Hatch. The project was also made possible through collaborations with Tompkins County, Taitem Engineering, and Clarity Connect.
New voices, new times
Whether you rely on WRFI to stay up-to-date on our changing world, or to open your ears to a new worlds of music, we hope our schedule is giving you more of what you want, when you want it. But we need your feedback to stay connected and responsive. Please fill out our survey and let us know what you think!
As a community station, our mission is to elevate local voices. We’re so proud to have added 20 new hosts since June and counting! Our new program schedule fills weekday mornings with hard-hitting independent news like from “Democracy Now,” “Rising Up with Sonali,” and “Law and Disorder.” Then, starting at noon, the airwaves are bumpin’ with one-of-a-kind music shows served up by our expanding crew of local personalities—featuring your very own friends and neighbors.
Check out some of our local shows
We’ve always been proud of our local news operation at WRFI; No fewer than 12 of our former news people have gone on to careers in independent journalism and public radio. In Spring of 2023, Celia Clarke returned to lead the news team. Each weekday our newscasts highlight a selection of important local stories. Keep up-to-date, subscribe to our newscast feed on your favorite podcast platform.
"What’s Happening" and "Creatives on WRFI"
Listening to the radio is an immediate and serendipitous experience—especially on community radio. There’s so much going on in our communities, and if you’re listening, you’ll hear about it on WRFI. We’ve recently introduced “What’s Happening” on WRFI, a listing of local music and events heard most Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It’s also available as a calendar on our website. We’re also adding more long-form arts interviews with Creatives on WRFI.
The Youth Radio Project
Now in its eighth year, the Youth Radio Project is back from the pandemic and going strong! WRFI Youth Services Coordinator Peter Bakija has trained dozens of young people to host their own programs (Wednesday afternoons at 4pm). We’re so proud to see the next generation learn about music and discover radio. When they’re not on the air many of them help out behind the scenes with radio production, office tasks, and music library organization.
The community of community radio
Community radio is you and you’re a part of an expanding community of independent thinkers here in the Finger Lakes who love and support independent radio like WRFI. In addition to our thousands of regular listeners, so far this year we’ve heard from nearly 300 new community members—123 of whom have become members! Meet some humans of WRFI on Instagram or Facebook—and be sure to follow us!
RIP Julian Eagle
Sadly our very first Youth Radio Project student is also the first WRFI host to have passed away. In August, our community lost Julian Eagle, a bright and dedicated young man who worked at the station every Wednesday afternoon for 3 or 4 years. We love and miss him. Neither Julian nor his contributions to the station will be forgotten any time soon.
James Utz began his volunteer radio career as a lunchtime radio host at KDHS radio, a closed circuit station at Davis Senior High School, in 1986. Later that year, at the University of California, Davis, he joined campus/community station KDVS as a volunteer, and hosted roughly 300 music broadcasts there from 1987 to 1993. After a two-decade absence from the music and radio "business," Jim joined WRFI Community Radio as a volunteer in October 2012, a few months after the station began broadcasting original content.
As "kid catharsis," Jim has presented the musical program "Bombast" for over 500 broadcasts since 2012. After learning the station's automated programming software, he programmed the station's daily content and soon became a co-Program Director and Board Member. In 2015 he stepped down from station management but continued to program the station once a week, and recently returned to the role of Operations and Volunteer Manager in Spring of 2023.
Whether you’ve just found us or you’ve been with WRFI since the beginning, we’re so glad you’re part of the WRFI community. We couldn’t have come the first ten years without you, and we’re so excited to set out on the next ten—together with you, our listeners. Thank you!