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Making Waves - Cape May's Radio Station

Posted 1/26/08
by Sandy D'Shor

Every Saturday morning from 9AM to 12 noon, carpenter Mike Murphy trades in his tools for a microphone at Cape May's new radio station - WCFA, 101.5 FM.

He's one of almost two dozen community volunteers from all walks of life who are finding a new role as a dee jay, and, at the same time, are helping the fledging non profit radio station get off the ground.

Peg Long, a former clinical psychologist, is WCFA's first female DJ. She "knew zip" about being on the air. Now she does a Jazz show Wednesday morning from 9AM to 12.

The dee jays act as their own engineers, running the audio board themselves while segueing between music. Long says it's a little nerve wracking at times, even for a clinical psychologist.

The birth of the radio station is a media miracle.

Thanks to a couple of creative thinkers, the non profit Center for Community Arts applied for a limited power FCC radio license, being offered to community based non-profits years ago.

It took five years until the first program crackled it's way onto the airwaves.

WCFA, 101.5 FM now broadcasts 24 hours a day from a back room in the Center for Community Arts' modest yellow frame house on Lafayette St. in Cape May.

Still in it's infancy and staffed by volunteers, the radio station has faced serious challenges, among them the lack of funding.

That's why the volunteer dee jays are so crucial to the station's success.

Former Cape May Mayor Jerry Gaffney spins Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and others from the Golden era. He's behind the microphone for a few hours every Friday afternoon, starting at 3PM.

John Schneider, a landscape architect from Pennsylvania and Cape May, does a show called the Softer Side of Jazz Sundays from 10AM to 12 Noon.

The majority of WCFA's collection is jazz, but the station has begun to expand it's format to include other genres, covering a variety of musical tastes.

Steve Bacher, CCA's Executive Director comments that "Jazz is an art form not generally reflected in the South Jersey listening area, and CCA traditionally fills gaps in the cultural genre."

Jazz also reflects the organization's multi-cultural emphasis. The Cape May Jazz festival has recently become a partner with WCFA, providing resources, support, and a dose of prestige to the project.

To help raise money for the radio station, CCA will repeat a successful and popular winter fundraiser - the Soup-er Bowl and Auction February 1, 2008, at the West Cape May Fire Hall on Broadway starting at 6PM.

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