WCFA-LP - Cape May NJ

WCFA-LP     Cape May, NJ's population ebbs and flows through the year, from ten thousand on up. Its beaches and Victorian charm draw thousands of tourists in the warmer months. WCFA-LP is for everyone in Cape May, year-round citizen or not. The station started as a jazz aficionado's dream. He had the equipment, and Cape May's Center For Community Arts had the bodies. “If we had to do it without his blessing,” says Bernadette Matthews, the station's Executive Director, “we would have hit a major stumbling block.” Though there are commercial stations in the area, “as far as information, those radio stations aren't there for that.”

The station has a lot of local programming, including Geoff Johnson's cooking show. A chef at the Copper Fish restaurant, Johnson prepares dishes on the air. “You might even smell stuff coming out of your radio, it sounds so vivid and alive,” says Matthews. WCFA's thirty on-air hosts, have other such programs as “Blues Crossroads.” “Six Degrees” shows how you can connect pieces of music that seem very different from each other, in a variety of ways. 

The station also broadcasts music lessons, a gardening show, and Matthews's own program, “What's Going On?” Her show is a lively discussion of local events. Recently, it featured a beach patrol officer. They discussed how to help keep Cape May's beaches pristine and how to protect yourself while having fun. 

Every November and April, the station broadcasts live from the Cape May Jazz Festival, one of the East coast's premier music festivals. The station also broadcasts remotely from the yearly Terrapin March as  Diamond Terrapin turtles cross the highway. People gather to make sure they are safe – and to have a good time.

WCFA has trouble getting underwriters because it's difficult to show the incentive of advertising that can be heard only about ten miles out. The station's schedule is in the newspaper, and people also learn about the station from its huge billboard next to the main road into town. 

Because the station runs out of Cape May's Center for Community Arts, it has a lot of amenities for community members to take advantage of. “Music fits right in with [our] mission to provide arts to those who don't have access and build community,” says Matthews, particularly children and the elderly. 

One of the most popular programs the CCA runs is “Art at the Library.” Kids come into the library and read a book, then do an art project based on it. Into fall, the program's theme is famous artists. 

The program “expands [kids'] minds a little bit,” and helps make them “aware of art and creativity and all the things that creativity provides for people.” Designed for ages six to ten, the program  often maxes out at twenty kids. “We could probably fill up even more if we had more room,” says Matthews.

Matthews hopes new LPFMs will “be as fortunate as we were to know someone who's got the music and equipment.” Her advice: remember that underwriters will get involved “based on shows that are of interest to them,” and to “be kind to your neighbors and seek out volunteers that serve the community and the businesses.” Reflecting on WCFA's road to success, Matthews remarked that it was “completely a volunteer effort.” And, like all community stations, WCFA couldn't be anywhere near what it is today without the support of the people it serves.