Tune-In: Local Radiothon

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on September 22, 2010 with No Comments

WVLP: Radio for Valparaiso
By Neal F. Litherland

WVLP, physically located at 256 West Indiana Ave in Valparaiso, can also be found at 98.3 on your FM dial. The voice of Valparaiso, WVLP is a local not for profit radio station that covers most of Valparaiso on any given day, and sometimes it can cover more depending on the weather and cloud conditions. The radio station has been up and running in the heart of Valparaiso (less than a few blocks from the town square and the courthouse), but there are still a lot of residents that don’t know about the station, or that it’s open to the public.

“WVLP first officially began in October of 2002,” Gregg Kovach, the Executive Director of WVLP said. “And by November that year we were broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Kovach has been with WVLP for six of its eight years, and he knows the story of the station’s fairly rough start, and the idea behind why it was put together in the first place. That station wasn’t meant to be a competitor of bigger stations in the area Kovach said, but rather it was meant as a local station that broadcast on topics of local interest and importance. The radio station is an alternative to corporate radio, but it has a small broadcast rang because WVLP is a low power radio station, hence the LP in the end of the name.
“It took a long time to really get the station up and running,” Kovach said. “The group that started us had to cut through red tape, get government start-up and communications grants, and we had to try and build up community support for the project since we were and are doing this for the community.”
Kovach says that one of the biggest problems that WVLP has is that even people who are fans of the station don’t seem to realize that it’s completely open to the public. The programs that run on WVLP, whether they’re news, music, talk shows or interview slots are all written and staffed by volunteers. In fact, Kovach is the only paid employee of the radio station. Everything else, from fund raising to web page upkeep to coming up with and running new radio shows is done by local volunteers.
“We’re actually putting together an event to try and increase local awareness of WVLP, and to try and find more people who’d be interested in volunteering on a regular basis,” Kovach said. “We’re calling it the WVLP Radiothon.”
The setup of the Radiothon is fairly simple. The event will run from Monday, November 1 until Sunday, November 7. During this time anyone in the community can come in and get on the radio. You simply need to call the radio station and reserve a time slot, and run your program by the directors to make sure that it’s listener friendly. You could do a segment with your local band, interview someone you know, run a how-to program, discuss varying political views amongst a group or even do some stand up comedy. Whatever you want to run, you can reserve either a half hour or a full hour of time and if your program meets the standard you can perform on the radio.
“The goal is the try and integrate ourselves more with the community,” Kovach said. “We want people to really feel like they’re a part of our programming. The Radiothon is also completely free, so there’s not even a fee for people who have an idea they want to run with.”
For those who have an idea they’d like to do on a more regular basis, the qualifications are a little more stringent. Program ideas should ideally last for an hour or so, and the participants should be very sure that they want to do a regular program for the long haul. That’s what makes the birthday celebration of the radio station with the Radiothon so timely. If you have an idea you can test drive it to see how it feels before you commit to do anything that would require more time or material than you have to put into it.
For more information on WVLP, call (219) 476-9000 or visit the station website at www.wvlp.org.

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About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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