WNCW is a department of Isothermal Community College. The college is the station’s license holder and we function just as any other department of the college does. We support the college’s educational goals through the operation of a full service public radio station that provides news, information and music programming in an effort to encourage the life-long pursuit of learning. We serve our listening region in a variety of ways. We feel it’s important to help encourage creativity, innovative thinking, the arts, the history of our region, and economic development within the Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina region that makes up our listening area. We accomplish this by working with partners in our area to identify and address issues of concern. It is our ultimate goal to create respect for the cultural diversity that is such an important part of our service area. This strategy has served us well for 28 years serving Western North Carolina.
We serve our listeners with local and regional news stories, feature stories, and weekly one on one interviews that highlight the efforts and opportunities provided by , health agencies, environmental agencies and organizations, municipalities, educational institutions, arts organizations, community organizations, and non-profits from across our region. Arts organizations can announce their events on our free weekday calendar listing of area arts events called “Art Break.” The efforts and events of the many various outdoor and environmental groups in our region are highlighted in our free weekday “Outdoor Events Calendar.” Both of these run multiple times throughout the week.
We feel one of our most important goals is that of preserving and highlighting the rich musical heritage that is such a part of our region and its implications on our culture, through music and informational programming. WNCW provides an eclectic blend of music on a daily basis. Most of our programming is locally produced and includes programs like: Goin’ Across the Mountain - highlighting bluegrass music, This Old Porch – highlighting folk music, Celtic Winds – highlighting Celtic music, The Saturday Night House Party – highlighting blues music, The Gospel Truth – highlighting gospel music, Local Color –highlighting the music of local and regional artists, and many others. Perhaps our “crowning jewel” is our live performance studio, Studio B. We are fortunate to have a plethora of local, regional, and national artists that tour through the area. In Studio B our personalities conduct interviews and the artists provide live performances that go much further in depth than simply playing a song on the air. Our audience gets a chance to learn the history of the music and a deeper look at the influences on the artist, who they are, what their music means to them, and what they hope it means to the listener.
WNCW offers an internship program for broadcasting students. Students from Isothermal, as well as other area colleges and universities, get a “hands on” experience in all facets of station operations. Everything is covered from programming, to membership, development, and business, giving the interns a “hands on” experience before they enter the workforce. Additionally, WNCW works with Isothermal Community College Broadcasting students, who create on-air programming that airs weekly on the station.
Our efforts have made us a respected and sought after partner and given us a reputation for excellence in public broadcasting that is known far beyond our service area. We are thankful for the opportunities we are given to help enrich the lives of our audience and we take it very seriously.
WNCW makes a practice of seeking out like minded organizations that have similar goals in an effort to help support their mission. In many cases, such organizations will come to WNCW for support of their cause. We are thankful for the opportunity to work with such organizations and assist them in their efforts to spread their message as they seek to educate and inform our common communities. There are basically 3 key initiatives that we deem extremely important to our mission. These include: 1 - Preserving the musical heritage and culture of the region, 2 - Supporting environmental, conservation and revitalization efforts, 3 – Helping educating and inform our audience on issues or matters of concern within the area. Key groups partnered with to preserve our musical heritage and culture include: The Don Gibson Theatre, The Earl Scruggs Center, Destination Cleveland County, The Peace Center, The Dianna Wortham Theatre, Lake Eden Arts Festival, Leaf in Schools, Merlefest, The Folk Heritage Committee, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Blue Ridge Music Trails, The Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Young Appalachian Musicians, Red, White and Bluegrass Festival, and the Tryon Fine Arts Center. Key groups partnered with in support of conservation and revitalization efforts include: NC Co-Operative Extension, Keep NC Beautiful, NC Fish and Wildlife Commission, Chimney Rock State Park, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Riverlink, Town of Hendersonville, NC, Town of Saluda, NC, City of Greenville, SC, Asheville Downtown Association, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Hagood Mill Historical Site in Pickens, SC, Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority, and McDowell County Tourism Authority. Key Groups partnered with in support of education and information include: Red Cross, American Heart Association, Relay for Life, Pardee UNC Healthcare, Rutherford Housing Authority, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, Isothermal Community College, UNC Asheville, Appalachian State University, Western Carolina University, NC State University, Wilkes Community College, Warren Wilson College, Rutherford County Schools, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, Tryon International Equestrian Center, and the Rutherford County Humane Society
The impact and effect of what we do and our key initiatives is witnessed in a number of ways. Probably one of the most evident is the amazing financial support of our members. It’s obvious that our audience finds what we do relevant and an important part of their lives. This fact is evidenced by our member’s willingness to continually provide financial support to WNCW and our on pledge drives continue to grow each year. Another determining factor of our success is the listener’s attendance at various concerts, music and arts festivals, and the many charity events that we support with our own presence. We have so many members and listeners that will come up to greet us at an event and tell us how thankful they are that we are there to support the cause, or that they wouldn’t have known about it if they hadn’t heard it on WNCW. Additionally, it can be seen in the number of weekly phone calls and e-mails we field from listeners and members, and by the continued support of the area businesses that underwrite our programming. One of the biggest measures comes from the comments of our members and those we partner with:
To: All Staff, Hosts, Coordinators, and Everyone associated with your wonderful radio station.
My name is Rick Kane, and I've been wanting to write this letter for some time now; to say what WNCW means to me. I've been enjoying your great FM station for years, but it has taken on an even more special place in my life since earlier this year. In Jan/Feb I suffered through a very, very serious illness; and in fact, didn't know if I'd make it. During my illness, WNCW helped give me hope, inspiration, solace, comfort and deep enjoyment. You good folks helped me find that "spark" inside me again. My wife works out of town during the week, so a lot of the time was just me, our wonderful cat and WNCW. Your diverse, eclectic mix of various songs & artists are a joy to me. WNCW has put me back in touch with music I had pretty much forgotten about over the decades. All of a sudden a song will come on and I just get a shiver up my spine.............. ......OMG........and I stop what I'm doing. Even start dancing in the kitchen and playing the "air guitar"! Not only does your programming reconnect me to music from decades gone by, but also WNCW introduces me to new artists whom I hadn't ever heard of! Yes, the music is still out there! For example, Sturgil Simpson, Geoff Achison etc. WNCW is much more than a radio station for entertainment. You stir the spirit and sooth the soul. The station has helped me recover through very difficult times. And to quote from an old Dylan song you've given me "Shelter from the Storm". Just wanted to say a heartfelt THANK YOU...........to the greatest radio station ever! Simply put, experiences about life --- the Good, the Bad and everything in between is "ALL IN THE MUSIC". Keep it up! - A Big Fan and Supporter, Rick Kane - Collettsville, NC
I just wanted to drop you a note and say thanks for your continued support of LEAF. We have wrapped up yet another amazing Lake Eden Arts Festival. The crowd was amazing and that is due largely to the support of great partners like WNCW. We just wanted to say thanks to everyone at WNCW for being great supporters of the arts and partners of LEAF. We couldn’t have this kind of success for our cause without you. - Adam Bowers - Development Director - Lake Eden Arts Festival.
We are fortunate to have a partner like WNCW to work with. We have a great working relationship with the station and that’s been the situation for many years. By taking advantage of WNCW’s on-air calendar of events, “Art Break” segments and underwriting spots we have largely increased our exposure to the surrounding communities and the region. This is evident by some of the attendance by patrons from areas that we didn’t receive before working with WNCW. Also, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with them on co-producing programming for specific listener groups. One of the most successful of note is the “Goin’ Across the Mountain Live” concert we’ve been doing each year with WNCW. These concerts have not only displayed the talents of national and local bluegrass artists on our stage, but have increased our audience by exposing new patrons to our facility. Through our partnership, WNCW and The Foundation PACC are creating new opportunities that mutually benefit Isothermal Community College, the station, the facility and most importantly our communities. - Russell Wicker - Executive Director - The Foundation Performing Arts and Conference Center.
WNCW is committed to identifying the needs of the various minority communities we serve. This is accomplished in a number of different manners. We will often partner with local organizations to support their cause and we address these needs in several ways, like syndicated public affairs programs, locally produced shows, local and national news stories, as well as features dedicated specifically to these issues.
One of the more recent features was a conversation with Dwight Mullen, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. For the past decade he has led the “State of Black Asheville” project, which provides an annual report on racial disparities in Asheville and a conference on the report with members of the Buncombe County community.
Our News Director also does a “More to the Story” feature each week. Working in partnership with several of the regional newspapers, these features take a more in depth look at some of the local and regional stories of importance in our area. One recent story featured investigative reporter Ames Alexander, with the Charlotte Observer, who discussed his series of articles on corruption in the North Carolina prison system.
Another featured an interview with Habitat for Humanity to talk about their on-going efforts to provide housing for minorities and others who might never achieve the dream of home ownership without their help.
Other feature interviews highlighted the latest crime statistics for Asheville and a breakdown of which crimes ranked the highest, ‘Project Fight” and their efforts to bring awareness to human trafficking in Western North Carolina, Buncombe County Health and Human Services and their efforts to raise awareness of childhood obesity, and many other issues.
These programs and features are an important part of our programming lineup. WNCW is committed to continuing our efforts to cover issues of importance to minorities and provide a voice for those who may not otherwise be heard.
In all honesty, our job would be considerably harder without our CPB grant. We take seriously our commitment to serve the public and we do the best we can with a pretty small staff. Without that funding we would be an even smaller staff with bigger limitations. The funding allows us the ability to provide quality programming, both locally produced and nationally syndicated. As I write this, we are considering the purchase of several expensive pieces of broadcast equipment. Not luxuries, but essentials to be able to broadcast. A new board for our main control room, a new main antenna, a new transmitter are all things that we need to replace. Obviously, we could never afford to do all that at once. They will have to be purchased strategically over time, but if we didn’t have the funding we receive from the CPB, there wouldn’t even be a possibility of making such a large purchase at all. Our CPB funding allows us the chance to better serve our community and hopefully grow our audience even more. It seems like technology changes every day. That makes it hard for a small public radio station like WNCW, in a mostly rural area, to keep up. Without the financial support of the CPB, it would be impossible for us to purchase the equipment to even stay close to up to date. It’s our sincere wish to continue to serve the people of Western North Carolina for another 28 years. Our CPB funding has made that possible and it’s our hope that the U.S. Congress will see fit to continue funding for the CPB, and thus, the public broadcasting entities throughout our nation. There is history and culture to protect and education, information, and entertainment, to be shared. We are keenly aware of, and committed to, our mission to educate, inform, and entertain our audience. The CPB funding makes a large portion of that mission possible.