Local media is often a perfect reflection of its community. Case in point: River Reporter. Thoughtful columns presented alongside news of the towns, high school sports and environmental concerns …
Local media is often a perfect reflection of its community. Case in point: River Reporter. Thoughtful columns presented alongside news of the towns, high school sports and environmental concerns which puts the River Reporter front and center as a river reporter.
The name really works.
More subtle is our radio scene. I’m loyal to Catskill’s public radio—WJFF, 90.5 FM—and to Classic Hits, 105.3.
First thought: radio reception on Main Street in Narrowsburg. What geophysical factors make it a black hole for cell and radio signals? Whatever I’m listening to becomes white noise, a whirlpool of nothingness, until I turn onto Bridge Street or Erie Avenue.
WJFF: Sure, there’s the occasional klezmer concert, but there are also thoughtful, expansive local hosts like Donna Fellenberg, Aaron Hicklin, Jason Dole, Tim Bruno, Janus Adams, Rosie Starr and Dale Blagrove. I’m grateful and enthralled.
Sometimes I get in the car and my husband has changed the station. I must look at the screen; scan left; choose between the presets, which I have organized from low to high frequencies; move my right hand from the wheel; and touch 90.5 or 105.3. Maddening and exhausting. Why Matt? Why?
105.3: I don’t always understand it, but I love it. What’s going to happen when you touch 105.3? It’s impossible to predict. The Beatles, which the programming staff clearly loves, offer weekly tickets to ride. There are obscure-to-me harmonies from the 1950s. Seventies hits, so I remember my siblings rocking out. Less often the ‘80s or ‘90s. Occasionally it plays contemporary music—a slap in the face of classic hits.
It’s a musical buffet. You never know what you’re going to get.
The news is the best. The reporters often sound burdened, interpreting the weight of the stories on which they’re reporting. They do a wonderful job of bringing local news to life. They very responsibly reported local concerns, data and initiatives during the pandemic.
Years ago, 105.3 featured a weekend reporter we loved. No matter how joyful the song she was coming out of was, she’d break in sounding as though she had something horrible to tell us.
“That was Cyndi Lauper with ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun.’ Now for the weather,”... heavy sigh… “it’s a gorgeous day. Not a cloud in the sky. An expected high of 81,” all the while sounding like Debbie Downer’s DJ cousin.
The commercials often feature local proprietors, such as Joan from Narrowsburg Proper or Val from the Tusten Cup. I love the committed and thorough spokesperson for Lake Region IGA in Hawley. I’ve come to think of her as a trusted friend. I sing along with the jingle.
WJFF or 105.3 FM. It’s never a lonely ride.
Local media is a vital part of freedom of speech and a way to get information you might otherwise miss. Appreciate it. Support it. Seek it out and pay attention. It’s a mirror for the community in which you live. Hopefully, you’ll like what you see.
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