WHCP Radio gains traction with fundraiser, studio lease

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Board members Nancy Barger, Steve Rideout, Bob Ritz and Mike Starling outside the new WHCP studio location at 512 Poplar Street.

CAMBRIDGE — WHCP, the new community-supported radio station in town held its first major fundraiser on March 21. At the cocktail and hors d’oeuvres event at the Cambridge Yacht Club, 114 tickets were sold, and WHCP board chairman Mike Starling reported great response from the silent auction and other fundraising efforts from the evening. “We’re very pleased with the response from the community,” Mr. Starling told us, “and are now looking forward to diving into the building phase and getting on the air.”

Guests at the Yacht Club enjoyed a fun evening in the company of their neighbors, a 30-item silent auction, raffles and a 50/50, a wine pull, a candy “bar,” music from DJ Bruce McWilliams, cocktails and snacks.
WHCP has signed a lease on their storefront location at 512 Poplar St. in downtown Cambridge, and are planning the layout and construction of the studio complex that will soon be housed within. There will be two production studios created within the space, with one broadcast booth within sight of the front windows.

“We want to make sure the folks walking by on Poplar Street can see as well as hear our broadcasts,” said Mr. Starling, “We want everyone to feel connected with what will be their community radio station.”

Along with a wide variety of music programming, WHCP plans to institute a reading service for the blind, live simulcast of community events, and live broadcasts of city and county public meetings. The station license is an “LPFM” license, with the LP meaning “low power.” Broadcast coverage is centered on the city of Cambridge, with a good signal radius reaching from Blackwater in the south to the southern edges of Easton, and east to west roughly from Madison to Secretary.

Although the staff of volunteers at WHCP hope to get everything on line and broadcasting some time in June, the official on-air date is July 4. To celebrate the Independence Day event, one committee at the station is working on acquiring permission from the town to hold a “Boom Box Parade” downtown on the 4th. Originated in Willimantic, Conn. in 1985, the object of a boombox parade is that everyone marches in the parade carrying a portable radio — a “boombox” — while the radio station broadcasts march music for the event. The somewhat offbeat parade idea struck a chord in Connecticut and now is a hugely popular event, and Mr. Starling and staff hope to build the same sort of resonance in Cambridge.

“Our station motto is ‘WHCP Cambridge — a great place to be!’” Mike Starling says, “and we believe that. We’re committed to building a real community radio station here in town, just wait and see.”

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