WJFF RADIO CATSKILL: A Vital Community Resource
WJFF Radio Catskill is a non-commercial educational radio broadcaster whose mission is to make available to its community a broad range of ideas and ideals useful to a full and enlightened life. It also aims to involve the community in preserving and transmitting the community’s cultural heritage and artistic expressions in addition to those of the global community and to promote understanding among people of diverse social and cultural backgrounds.
Launched 30 years ago by a group of intrepid residents, Radio Catskill has an inspiring history and has evolved into a vital cultural and educational institution in The Catskills and Northeast Pennsylvania. As a public radio station offering NPR, BBC, and a variety of volunteer produced programming, Radio Catskill is committed to informing and entertaining our community of listeners.
We have increased our commitment to local public affairs reporting, making the station a vital hub for information about the pandemic, the recent election and other events important to our communities. We will continue building on that strength and growing the excellent, locally produced arts and entertainment programming the station is known for.
OUR NEED and OUR OPPORTUNITY: Space, Technology, and Connectivity
To continue operating on-air for the next 30 years with the same strength, passion and success as we have over the prior 30 years, we must move to a new location and outfit our studios with state-of-the art equipment to stay relevant in a technology-dependent industry.
The station’s current studio is significantly outdated with analog audio equipment, presenting operational and technological challenges. A small, two-story building, the facility offers very cramped office and production space, is not ADA-compliant, has inadequate public/community space, has limited parking, and is located next to a flood zone.
In addition, the unreliable landline/internet-based connection between the studio and the broadcast tower 10 miles away contributes to frequent signal outages. Complicating matters, Radio Catskill does not own the land under the studio, making it difficult to justify significant investments in the building and upgraded equipment at this site.
The generosity of a longtime supporter has resulted in a site in Liberty as a new home for Radio Catskill. The site includes a building shell that is being transformed into the station’s main facility, and an adjacent two-story house, suitable for additional office space and storage.
OUR VISION: How the Liberty Facility Will Improve Radio Catskill
With the support of donors, our listeners and volunteers, we are building a dynamic and modern facility, in line with industry standards. This will promote a collaborative work environment, improve our efficiency and enhance our programming, forming an even stronger bond with our community. The new space will allow us to fulfill our mission in many important ways:
Easy Access — Liberty is at the geographic center of Radio Catskill’s listening area, as well as being near other major population centers in Sullivan County. There is convenient bus service and plenty of parking space.
Contribute to the revitalization of the town of Liberty, a population and commercial hub in the center of our listening area. Many of the station’s nearly 100 volunteers from throughout Sullivan County, Northeast Pennsylvania and the Catskills, will be coming to Liberty.
Reliability — A line-of-sight microwave link to the broadcast tower will improve reliability and sound quality.
Energy Efficiency — Energy efficient solar panels, HVAC and lighting systems will reduce our environmental impact and continue our unique, historical commitment to sustainable energy.
Youth Involvement — Radio Catskill has developed ongoing working relationships with Sullivan BOCES and Cornell Cooperative Extension, both located just down the road. We are also working to develop funding for internships and scholarships.
Inclusive Involvement — Our new location puts us in closer proximity to a population that has grown in diversity over the last several years. This location will make it easier for us to conduct outreach to engage the the Latino, Asian and African-American communities in Liberty and Monticello.
Meeting the Digital Future — State-of-the-art digital studio equipment will allow us to offer programming across traditional and digital platforms and opens the possibility of creating an HD channel. It also enhances the potential for youth involvement providing students with a technological environment that can advance their education.
More News — More room will allow us to provide more locally produced news from seasoned professionals, students and volunteers. This will help increase the number of top-quality local journalism and original programs we can offer, that spotlight the Catskills and Northeast Pennsylvania.
More Ways to Involve the Community — A dedicated community space will allow us to host and broadcast lectures, performances, community meetings and volunteer training.
Efficiency and Comfort — Modern ergonomic and acoustic design will make sound studios more conducive to broadcasting live interviews as well as small-group musical performances.
ADA Compliance — Unlike our current location where our studios are on two floors, the Liberty location is one level and much more accessible which will enable us to engage individuals with varying abilities in ways we never could before.
THE PLAN: Raise a Total of $300,000 in Capital Funding
Construction: Significant renovations are required to transform the building into the high-functioning space we envision. We are fortunate to be partnering with Sullivan BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) Career and Technical Education center to complete a portion of the pre-construction work.
Equipment: The new station will have three studio spaces, including two state-of-the-art digital broadcast/production studios and a third studio for hosting live interviews, panel discussions and musical performances. Portable workstations with editing software will increase production capacity.