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Building a sound future

Kathy Daley
Posted 2/22/22

Local. Nonprofit. Independent. And it sounds like home. That’s the reverberation of 90.5 WJFF Radio Catskill, sharing news and weather, music and art, what’s happening with farming and …

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Building a sound future


Local. Nonprofit. Independent. And it sounds like home.

That’s the reverberation of 90.5 WJFF Radio Catskill, sharing news and weather, music and art, what’s happening with farming and faith, politics and people. Supported for 31 years by the communities of Sullivan County and northeastern Pennsylvania, WJFF is close to stepping into a new life just 15 minutes from its longtime home in Jeffersonville.

“We’re on track to move in May and we’re letting folks know we’re in the final stretch,” said general manager Tim Bruno of Callicoon.

Once home to the Catskill Harvest Market, the newly painted building at 2758 Route 52 sits across the road from BOCES and is a neighbor to the Spectrum office. Building owner Barbara Martinsons donated the property to WJFF, placing the radio station on the cusp of exhilarating change and community outreach.

“WJFF was built 30 years ago by volunteers,” said Bruno in the small Jeffersonville office overlooking Callicoon Creek. “No one knew at the time about digital electronics. And now we need communal space for lectures, meetings, video and audio space.”

The broadcast facility will boast high-level industry-standard digital studios along with community spaces, offices and grounds.

Because the radio station is listener-sponsored, the money for the new headquarters comes from those who donate. “So far, we’ve raised $170,000,” said Bruno. “Our goal is $300,000.”

Locals are responding. “You were my father’s constant companion,” said one donor.

Another, a local woodworker, said he listens to WJFF continuously in his shop.

“We are in service to the community,” said Kristen Foster, president of the WJFF board of directors. Along with her husband Sims Foster, she has renovated and opened a raft of local hotels and restaurants along with the food education nonprofit A Single Bite, which offers free meals to children and families in need.

“If you love this area, WJFF is a sounding board and a link to fellow neighbors,” said Foster.

For example, WJFF program director and Sullivan County native Jason Dole co-hosts The Local Edition at 6:30 p.m. weekdays. Featured are chats with poets, political officials, congresspeople and business owners. Spotlighted recently were Sullivan County Fire Coordinator, John Hauschild, and nurse, Mary Kate Donahue, from Garnet Health Medical Center who spoke on women’s heart health.

Outreach to the community continues. Foster noted that WJFF and SUNY Sullivan are in the planning stages of launching a digital marketing class for college students.

As for neighbor Sullivan BOCES, the radio station welcomed students to play a key role in the new project: “We had the good fortune of receiving approximately $50,000 of in-kind contributions in the form of construction and other work done by Sullivan BOCES students,” said Bruno.

Jeffrey Molusky, principal of BOCES’ Career and Technical Education, said the students loved helping out.

“Our Construction Trades and Natural Resource students gained valuable real-life experience completing the site work at Radio Catskill,” Molusky said. “They thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”

“We get what’s going on in our backyard,” noted Bruno. And the backyard appreciates it. Take a recent experience at Peck’s Market when a customer came up to Bruno and said, “Thanks for what you are doing.”

“I thought to myself, ‘But I’m just getting milk!’”

For more information or to donate, click on wjffradio.org. Interested individuals, corporations, families, foundations and other groups are invited to contact Bruno at (845) 482-4141 or at manager@wjffradio.org.


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