New documentary about WCOM

Elon University students created a 15-minute documentary film about WCOM and Low Power FM stations called "103.5: A Radio Community."

The film has also been submitted into the Carrboro Film Festival, but you can watch it right here...



“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained.” Helen Keller

I haven't listened to this station often.  Mostly because it took so long for me to learn about it.  I mean I saw it driving through downtown I don't know how many times, but I had still lived in Chapel Hill & worked in Carrboro for a few years before I really ever heard much about them.  And it’s partly that I get my radio news elsewhere.  WUNC for National (internation w/ the BBC that they play) and state news (and a little local) & WCHL1360AM for Local News (& sometimes I listen to their CBS News broadcasts as well as the Air America stuff they play) since  it seems like they've been a part of this community forever.

I wholeheartedly applaud WCOM's efforts to be community based and democratic in their organizational efforts, but I think a bit of constructive criticism would be appropriate too.  It seemed like several people complained about the lack of leadership and the lack of a point person, and how hard that makes it for them to achieve much and grow.  All I would say to that is democracies have elected leaders and point people.  Also if they want to grow I think ignoring marketing efforts completely is a bad idea.  I’m not saying necessarily the kind of marketing G105 goes for, I’m saying selling WCOM merchandise as a way of letting locals donate and get something back for it would both increase brand awareness and help pay the bills.  One of the guys in the documentary talked about having regular programming would probably help grow the stations listenership, and I think he right that they could strike a balance between free style programming and regular programming to grow the station.

That documentary certainly got across the point that they feel they don’t have enough money and that things are hard without any administrative organization structure, but it didn’t sound like they were doing much about it other than hoping it’ll be better in 10 years.

Anyways those are my thoughts combined with some constructive criticism (I hope I didn’t come across as judgmental since I was just basing my comments off the documentary), but overall I think it is great to have community radio like this.  Do they do any community events?   I know like WCHL does “cash & cause” events to help with food-drives which gets their name out there more and does some real good while they are at it.  If not maybe some of their people could do stuff like that too?

I'll have to stop by sometime and check their station out.  I've been on programs on WUNC 91.5 & WCHL1360, so I should complete the trifiecta by going on WCOM at some point.


I miss being able to listen to COM now that I'm out here in the Orange wilderness.

Anonymous, have you tried streaming WCOM?  The station has listeners all over the world! 

I tune all the radios in the house to WCOM every Saturday morning in time for Music Hall and stay tuned thru Fiesta Latina.  But we live very close by.  The LP signal doesn't even reach Dogwood Acres. One of these days the FCC will re-regulate this broadcasting category.  

Thank goodness for WCOM ! that station kept me sane during some trying times. What a wealth of musical knowledge we have right here in our community ! What I don't understand is why some local businesses don't play the station, I would love to hear Music Hall when I drink my coffee saturday mornings at my local coffee place, I even asked the coffee dude if they could tune in, and he looked at me like I had tomato growing out of my head ! So much for local business supporting local radio !  Kudos to all the people who volunteer to keep this jewel on the air ! I still pick up the signal at my new place in Dogwood Acres, the transmitting tower is at Scroggs School,that was one of the conditions of the purchase. Thanks again WCOM   

Aha!  So the LP signal does reach Dogwood Acres.  We have close friends there who say they can't get it.  Maybe they're not trying.  The band is quite narrow. 

Saturday Morning Music Hall sweeps me away every week (thanks, Rocco!) -- I get more housework done because the house sounds too good to leave.  Then Breathing Room, then I just might go to the store, come back and start cooking.   

Dogwood Acres is closer to the antenna than most of Carrboro, but perhaps your friends live in just the wrong place (in a valley, or across a hilltop).
That's true, Mark.  The hills and valleys of Dogwood Acres do interfere wth the straight-line signal.  This is why family members in Lake Forest (a big plunge between Estes Drive and Weaver Dairy) can't receive it either.  Sigh ...

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