Station Profile: WSCA 106.1 LPFM – Portsmouth Community Radio

Just take a glance at the WSCA-LP Portsmouth Community Radio Station program schedule, and you can see it’s packed with local public affairs shows that you won’t hear elsewhere in Portsmouth. Every Monday features All Things Gay, a lively LGBTQ-focused talk show. Tune in Tuesday afternoon to hear in-studio interviews on Don’t Dis My Ability, a show produced by adults with disabilities, and during the evening old-time radio on WSCA Audio Theater. Wednesday airs Parent Talk and Writers in the Round. There are political talk shows throughout the week, an alternative and holistic health show, and even a show all about pets and pet handling.

For Tim Stone, one of the founding members of the station, and host of The Environmental Show and Mixed-Up World, these public affairs shows lie at the core of WSCA.

“This is diversity you don’t hear anywhere else on the local FM dial,” says Stone. “Public affairs programming is how we build community, music is how we celebrate it,” he says, quoting Matt Murphy, general manager at WERU in Maine, another community radio station.

Before the station had its license, the founders expected they would be broadcasting mostly music on the air. It wasn’t until volunteers started pitching show ideas that they discovered the passion for public affairs in the Portsmouth community. Since the first broadcast in 2004, the all-volunteer station boasts over 15 public affairs programs on the schedule – many more than the local National Public Radio affiliate station broadcasts.

For listeners who are wary of a free-form format, Stone compares the station to a restaurant menu. “Maybe you hate sushi, but you love fillet. That’s what the radio station is like, a menu – you find the things you like, and you come back for more. The things you don’t like, you avoid them,” he explains.

In addition to regular programming, the station serves as an emergency response system in Portsmouth. When spring floods occurred in 2005 and 2006, the station provided emergency information with listeners calling in to report which roads had been flooded. The station also broadcasts community events on air, including Portsmouth Schools Music Department Concerts.

But at WSCA, the heart of the station is the 100-plus volunteers who cycle through the station every week. “The neatest thing in the station is the people from all walks of life that get involved. It brings together a group of people in the station most people would probably have never met. Conservatives, liberals, young, and old,” he says.

As for advice he has for other folks staring a LPFM station, Stone recommends keeping an open door policy. “We have always said the door is open, everyone is welcome. That brings a lot of people together.” 


Thanks to Aliza Simons for putting together this station profile.