Published: Jul 03, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jul 02, 2012 10:42 AM
CARRBORO - WCOM, Carrboro’s low-power community radio station, will move its studios about half a block to the east this summer to take up permanent residence in what is now The ArtsCenter’s East End Gallery.
The move will join two of the town’s best-known nonprofit cultural organizations.
The radio station, an all-volunteer operation that airs a wide range of local talk and music programs from its current studio at 208 E. Main St., in the rear of the XXX building, will lease The ArtsCenter’s East End Gallery space for its broadcast and production facilities.
The ArtsCenter, an arts performance and teaching organization that serves almost 60,000 people each year, will collaborate with WCOM to provide some content for the station and to establish classes in various aspects of radio broadcasting as part The ArtsCenter’s arts offerings.
Part of the impetus for the move was the planned construction of the 300 E. Main hotel and mixed-use project, which will supplant WCOM’s current building.
“One of the earliest conversations I had when I joined the staff at The ArtsCenter was with WCOM about the possibility of collaborating,” said Art Menius, who came on as executive director of The ArtsCenter in April. “WCOM is a logical partner for The ArtsCenter; they’re another community-based nonprofit in the immediate neighborhood. At some point construction will be going on where they are now, and we felt if we entered into a long-term partnership it would be beneficial for both of us.”
Jacques Menache, a founder of both The ArtsCenter and WCOM, agreed.
“The performing arts presented at The ArtsCenter will provide remarkable content for radio that can then be distributed to other stations,” Menache said. “Classes in radio production will create new programmers for our station. We can build a corps of citizen broadcasters and journalists. It just makes sense for WCOM and The ArtsCenter to work hand-in-hand.”
Menius said plans are for the transition to be complete, with WCOM ready to broadcast from the new space, by Labor Day.
Menius has close ties to community radio. He still produces a monthly old-time and roots music show for WMMT, based in Whitesburg, Ky., where he directed the Appalshop media and arts center before taking on the directorship of The ArtsCenter. He records the three-hour show from a studio in his home.
“Community radio is close to my heart,” he said. “Community radio is about actual people playing music they love, as opposed to advertising-driven commercial radio. It’s programming for real people, by real people.”