WHITESBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Appalshop's radio station WMMT FM has been a source of mountain music and culture for decades. It was flooded with around five feet of water during this summer's flash floods. This meant the station would have to go off the air.
"So we lost all of our broadcast equipment, the entire studio was flooded," the station’s general manager Tea Wimer says.
Wimer says central Appalachia is a community radio desert. This station has maintained the region's culture for many years, that's why getting back on the air is so important. So far they've been able to restore enough signal to stream and get out messaging.
"It's very important because one, WMMT reflects the culture of the region, it's made by people in the region and so I think it means something very special to people because we don't get to see a lot of that in central Appalachia,” says Wimer.
WMMT has been on the air since 1985, and at its peak, they are able to reach around 300,000 listeners. Now, the goal is to get important messages with resources for people in this community that have been impacted by the floods.
"You know that went on at the end of last week, so now we're kind of in full mode of, you know, recording PSAs and trying to get people focused information out there," says Wimer.
Now, WMMT has been able to purchase a mobile vehicle with emergency funding that they'll renovate into a temporary studio.
"It actually was delivered yesterday. So, it's gonna be retrofitted to kind of become our new temporary broadcast space until Appalshop figures out a more permanent solution," says Wimer.
This general manager says their goal now is to reconnect with the community.
"People in this region, when they tune into WMMT, they hear themselves. You know we focus on local music, we focus on local culture, news stories, people — and at the same time, we're always highlighting regional cultural issues. And so, I think it’s a way for people in this region, and this area specifically to stay connected to each other,” says Wimer.
For more information on WMMT and on how you can donate, you can visit, www.WMMT.org/donate.