Carol & March in DC

As the Board Chair of Virginia Center for Public Press, the nonprofit that manages WRIR 97. 3 FM, I see first hand how WRIR empowers individuals to find their voice and stand up for people and independent artists in their community. People come to us with little or no broadcasting experience, and we work together to transform them into skilled community radio broadcasters. We open our airwaves to news and music programs that promote a better understanding of local issues and of each other’s culture, religion and issues.

As WRIR’s reputation has grown over the past 12 years, more people marginalized by gender and race are seeking us out. They believe WRIR is the one radio station that will allow them to express themselves, showcase their talents, and discuss the issues important to them. WRIR has established various community partnerships to carry out projects like Where Radio Is Real which built and presented an audio studio for young women at the Visual Arts Center. Our collaboration with Virginia Anti-Violence Project and Side by Side, gave LGBTQ youth and young adults portable recording kits to record their experience of being a part of Richmond’s LGBTQ community. Long-time standing show, The Common Thread, holds frank discussions about race and gender. Even our new show, Choppin’ It Up Geek, takes on pop culture and comic books through the lens of women and minorities.

This diversity carries over into our music programming. You hear how WRIR DJ’s bring music outside the mainstream to Richmond. We work with musicians and venues and host concerts that showcase local talent. Breakout artists like Lucy Dacus played the main stage of our Birthday Party For The Rest Of Us. In November, Host Bill of Global A Go-Go and DJ Greybeard of The Motherland Influence will put on a world music dance party at Studio 23 in Scott’s Addition.

Radio is the third most powerful media in the United States, reaching 54 percent of the country’s population daily. Community radio, like WRIR, has proven to bring about better community cohesion, enabling an understanding of and celebration of cultural diversity. Every time your listen to or mention WRIR to a friend, you share the passion that we share in making sure underrepresented views, ideas and music are heard loud and clear. Thank you for making it possible.

Carol Olson is president of the Virginia Center for Public Press and WRIR Producer and Talk Show Host at WRIR 97.3 LP FM – Richmond Independent Radio In 2016, Richmond YWCA recognized her with an Outstanding Woman Award for Media and Marketing.