Robin Hood Radio Tries To Save Local Community Radio

Morning Edition reports on Robin Hood Radio — a group concentrating on independent local radio.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And we have an update now on the effort to fill a gap in media coverage: community news and information.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Great Recession wrecked many local newspapers, though for-profit and nonprofit news websites try to make up for that.

MONTAGNE: Local commercial radio was devastated years ago, as many stations abandoned local programs for cheaper national shows.

INSKEEP: Many public eadio stations have expanded their local news coverage. And then there are the offbeat efforts of community radio, including a single station in New York's Hudson River Valley.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROBIN HOOD RADIO)

DAN DWYER: Welcome to "This Old Book," the first broadcast in 2014. I'm Dan Dwyer of Johnnycake Books, the host of "This Old Book." And today, we're going to start the New Year with a little departure from our usual themes on "This Old Book," which is talking about antiquarian books. We're going to talk...

MONTAGNE: That's one of the programs on Robin Hood Radio. Each day, it offers up horoscopes, jazz and classical music.

INSKEEP: There's also little bit of NPR programming, though the main attraction here is locally produced shows with names like "Wacky Andy's Comedy Hour."

MARSHALL MILES: We wanted to make, you know, bring back independent, local radio. And so, Robin Hood, you know, take from the rich, give to the poor. We'll take from the big and...

JILL GOODMAN: Give to the small.

MILES: ...and give to the small.

MONTAGNE: Robin Hood Radio is a labor of love for co-founders Marshall Miles and Jill Goodman. The programs include Kingston Community Radio, which until recently, aired on a commercial station in Kingston, N.Y.

(SOUNDBITE OF ROBIN HOOD RADIO)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Good morning, caller. You're on "Feel-Good Friday." What's your feel-good or question? It's Lew.

LINA POSTUPACK: Hi, Lew.

LEW KIRSCHNER: Hello, Lina.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Lew, how are you, buddy?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Hey, you know what? It's 3 degrees here today, Lew.

KIRSCHNER: It was zero in Poughkeepsie.

INSKEEP: Walter Maxwell launched Kingston Community Radio nearly 11 years ago, leasing air time from that commercial station. Last fall, he heard the commercial station might be shutting down.

WALTER MAXWELL: They were going to pull the plug and goodbye. So I posted it on Facebook and Marshall happened to be looking at Facebook

MONTAGNE: And Robin Hood Radio's Marshall Miles worked out a deal to move Kingston Community Radio to his station. We really can't describe Robin Hood Radio better than they describe themselves.

CHORUS: (Singing) Robin Hood, slightly off but very good...

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

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