Ossining-Croton Community Radio Station Struggles to Stay on the Air

Croton and Ossining's WDFH is struggling to keep broadcasting.

Westchester Public Radio, WDFH FM 90.3 and www.wdfh.org, has received a matching gift from listener Douglas Durst, who heads the New York City-based Durst Organization and is known for his leadership in creating environmentally responsible buildings.

Mr. Durst has pledged $10,000 if the nonprofit radio station can raise
matching funds of $10,000 from other sources.

This major gift comes at an opportune moment. The station was recently
forced to put its irreplaceable broadcast license on the market because of
financial difficulties. But WDFH's volunteer staff is working to turn
things around. If they succeed in raising sufficient funding, the sale of
the license can be averted.

So far, the station has raised more than $4,600 toward the match,
including a gift of $2,500 from Chuck and Gina Bell, residents of
Ossining. The Bells have been supporters for several years and Mr. Bell is
a member of WDFH's Fundraising Committee.

"WDFH has the potential to become a vital resource for our area, which is
underserved by local public media," said Vinny Cohan, a longtime WDFH
volunteer who hosts music and public affairs programs. "It's essential
that we expand our base of supporters to include new people who may not
have yet discovered WDFH," he said. He added that only recently has WDFH
had the key elements in place to start developing a significant public

The station's short-term goal, according to Marc Sophos, WDFH founder and
executive director, is to raise the remaining $5,600 to fully match the
donation from Mr. Durst. But in the next few months, he said, the station
must secure donations of $120,000 per year in order for it to sustainably
meet its budget of $10,000 per month.

"Once we raise $100,000, we may be eligible to apply for funding from the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting," he said.  He added that the
station's goal of $120,000 is only a third of the average for community
radio budgets nationwide, and that it is a tiny fraction of the budget of
a typical mainstream, NPR-type public radio station.

"We're also working to raise money through underwriting -- announcements
saying 'This program is made possible by a grant from such-and-such a
business,'" Mr. Sophos said.  He noted that every public radio and TV
station depends on local business support through underwriting, and he
hopes that businesses in the lower Hudson valley will recognize the value
of what a public radio station can provide in our area.  He said that
underwriting on WDFH is an extremely cost-effective way for local
businesses to get mentioned on the air.

In addition to listener donations and underwriting, Mr. Sophos said WDFH
plans to hold benefit concerts in the coming months. Announcements will be
made on the station's web site, http://wdfh.org.

The station also hopes to attract more major donors. "The lower Hudson
valley has many residents who could match the generosity of Mr. Durst and
the Bells, and we hope that they'll join our circle of major donors," he

"WDFH is ours to lose," he said. "We've brought it to the point where it
can really start to take off, and it would be awful to have to sell the
license to another entity that would eliminate all local programming."

He said there are several ways for WDFH to reach its $120,000 goal: 1,000
people giving just $10 a month, 100 people giving $100 a month, just a few
major donors, or any combination. Over the long term, he said, the station
plans to develop a broad funding base that includes listener support,
underwriting, foundation grants, corporate grants, major donations,
benefit concerts and other events, and grants from the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting.

"We have a plan.  The question is whether we'll have the time to carry it
out, and right now, time is money," Mr. Sophos said.

People interested in making tax-deductible donations and businesses
interested in becoming underwriters can get information at
http://wdfh.org. Also on the site is extensive information about
programming and opportunities for volunteers to participate.  Anyone
interested in supporting WDFH can also reach Mr. Sophos at (914)674-0900
ext. 58.

WDFH is the lower Hudson valley's only local public radio station. It can
be heard at 90.3 FM in central and northern Westchester, eastern Rockland,
southern Putnam, and far western Connecticut.  Listeners anywhere can also
hear WDFH on smartphones, tablets, computers, and other online devices.

The station, which is entirely nonprofit and noncommercial, plays a
freeform mix of rock, folk, blues, and jazz from a library of more than
100,000 recordings. It also produces OutCasting, public radio's only
program specifically giving voice to LGBTQ youth issues. Other programs
include For the Greater Good, a new program spotlighting area nonprofits
and the important work they do; the local news discussion programs In
Focus and Eyes on Westchester; and Recovery Talk, which focuses on
recovery from illness, addiction, trauma, domestic violence, and more.

WDFH is affiliated with the Pacifica Radio Network and is the lower Hudson
valley's on-air source for Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News,
along with other carefully selected programs from independent producers.

WDFH is owned and operated by Hudson Valley Community Radio, Inc., a local
nonprofit corporation that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code.  All donations, whether from an individual or a
business, are fully tax deductible.

The preceeding press release was from WDFH Radio.

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