WMVY announces return to Martha’s Vineyard airwaves

WMVY headquarters in in Tisbury.
Photo by Ralph Stewart

WMVY headquarters in in Tisbury.

WMVY radio will return to the airwaves on Martha’s Vineyard next year, according to Friends of mvyradio. The station, now a nonprofit organization that relies entirely on public donations and underwriting, has completed an agreement to purchase an FM frequency at 88.7, which is assigned the call letters WMEX, and is currently not broadcasting any programming.

The frequency is rated at 250 watts, as compared to the station’s former place on the radio dial, 92.7, which is a 3,000 watt signal.

On its web site, Friends of mvyradio wrote that it’s not possible yet to determine how far the FM signal will reach.

“The range of an FM signal varies based on the strength of the signal, how high it is placed on a tower and how it reacts to the geography it covers,” the group wrote. “That said, we believe that the 88.7 FM signal will easily cover all of Martha’s Vineyard, and will cover close-by mainland towns such as Falmouth. But we don’t expect this new signal to fully replicate the coverage of the former WMVY at 92.7 FM.”

It will take several months to complete the sale, and the required license transfer. The station hopes to begin broadcasting again next spring.

The scramble to survive as a nonprofit listener-supported Internet station and find a new FM signal began one year ago. After nearly three decades, the Island’s local station lost its spot on the FM dial when Boston public radio station WBUR purchased the radio station from its parent company, Aritaur Communications, in order to acquire its signal.

The WMVY staff raised $600,000 in pledges in order to continue programing on the Internet at mvyradio.com.