CAMBRIDGE – WHCP Community Radio put Cambridge on the educational radio map in 2015 with an innovative low-power station covering a 10-mile radius around its downtown Race Street studios.
Thanks to a new FCC license, and merger into the new Mid-Shore Community Radio operating entity, WHCP’s eclectic mix of music and local talk programming is soon predicted to stretch from St. Michaels to Salisbury, and could even reach Lexington Park in Southern Maryland, bringing WHCP to more than 200,00 people in the Mid-Shore region.
The power increase represents a significant jump in growth for one of the best examples of community radio in the nation, where more than 80 percent of the content is locally produced.
Along the way, WHCP (currently 101.5 FM and streaming at WHCP.org) has attracted some of the biggest names in local radio, all with a deep knowledge of their favorite musical genres. The lineup includes long-time DJ Bruce Patrick, host of the Mid-Shore Wakeup; Randy Tucker, the area’s premiere classic country DJ; musician Anne Watts of the legendary band Boister; DJ Kirk Kut who spins neo soul; and Dr. Donna Flaggs, blues expert insider and host of Lady Spins the Blues.
In 2015, the station launched Mid-Shore Mid-Day, the local weekday noontime public affairs program. The show’s community journalists include Kevin Diaz, an award-winning Washington correspondent, Jim Brady from the Oprah Winfrey Show and Mike Starling from NPR.
Other local talk programs include Doris, an eclectic showcase with up-and-coming musicians, artists and community activists with Marco Garcia, and Vets Helping Vets, a long-running focusing on veterans issues hosted by three local Vietnam veterans.
WHCP-LP (Low Power) will become WHCP-FM and bring this content and more to the new station. It also will add show hosts and community journalists from the larger geographical area. As a full-power FM station, WHCP will be able to carry National Public Radio programming, including the award-winning news magazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
The team planning the expansion includes WHCP founder Mike Starling, former NPR chief technology officer; Judy Diaz, former managing director at PBS, POLITICO and other media organizations; and Doug Schuetz, former engineer-in-charge for ABC's Good Morning America.
Although the station eventually will transition from 101.5 to 91.7 FM, its local Cambridge character will remain intact, as will its global internet presence on WHCP.org, as well as on the free WHCP app available in all app stores. Audiences who listen on smart speakers will still be able to ask “Alexa, play WHCP.” The station also will continue to run its Reading Service for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
WHCP, a volunteer-driven station, is now raising funds to build the new station and add a few paid staff positions. Volunteers are especially needed in community journalism, marketing and communications, fundraising and show hosting.
To learn more or donate to the upgrade initiative, go to whcp.org. To volunteer or inquire about on-air sponsorships, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.