Strings Music Festival partners with WWFM and West Slope FM for new radio programming
Steamboat Springs — Through a recently established partnership, the sound of Steamboat Springs can be heard on the East Coast.
Local nonprofit West Slope FM set up a new antenna up on Storm Peak about eight years ago to transmit radio programming from WWFM, a classical music and jazz station based out of Mercer Community College in Trenton, NJ that can be heard locally by tuning to 91.1 FM.
This past fall, radio host, Diane Guvenis visited Steamboat to meet with staff members of the Strings Music Festival to discuss broadcasting concerts on WWMF.
Prerecorded broadcasts from Strings Music Festival’s 2013 season can be heard on 91.1 FM on the last Friday of every month at 10 a.m. Eventually, they hope to broadcast live performances from the pavilion.
WWFM broadcasts classical music and orchestra concerts prerecorded and live throughout New Jersey, New York City, eastern Pennsylvania and portions of Delaware and Maryland.
Steamboat was added to that list about 20 years ago when a group of classical music enthusiasts sought after a local radio station that would broadcast classical music.
“I think it’s really cool that we are able to get a station like this from so far away,” said Lynn Abbott, board president of West Slope FM whose mother was one of the individuals who helped bring the station to Steamboat years ago. “They tried to get places closer but this was the music they liked so they made it happen.”
Not only is the partnership a mutual benefit between all the organizations involved, it connects listeners from coast to coast.
“When someone is walking down Park Ave. they can hear a concert from Steamboat Springs a few seconds later,” said General Manager of WWFM, Peter Fretwell over the phone Thursday. “Something about that is really exciting to us because in that town there really is world class music.”
Fretwell also said West Slope FM’s business model is incredibly efficient and sustainable.
Each month, Abbott explained that the nonprofit pays for the antenna to be in place and they work with Jeff Pearson From Pearson Communications Ltd for any maintenance that needs to be done or if bad weather tempers with any of the broadcasts.
“Concerts like these wouldn’t be heard except for the people who attend them,” said Guvenis who is the development director for WWFM and host for the Strings Music Festival broadcasts. “This allows those to be heard all over. It’s exciting for us and our listeners who ask about Steamboat Springs frequently.”
Growing up listening to classical music because of her mother, Abbott said this opportunity allows her to carry on her mother’s legacy and that of West Slope FM to bring world class music to the Yampa Valley.
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