A Letcher County radio station is struggling to get back on the air

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Appalshop’s WMMT FM radio station has been a source of mountain music and culture for decades. It was inundated with about five feet of water during flash floods this summer. This meant that the station had to stop broadcasting.

“So we lost all of our broadcast equipment, the whole studio was flooded,” station general manager Tea Wimer said.

Wimer says central Appalachia is a community radio wasteland. This station has maintained the culture of the region for many years, which is why the return to the air is so important. So far they have been able to restore enough signal to broadcast and send messages.

Wimer tea

“It’s very important because first of all WMMT reflects the culture of the region, it’s made by people from the region and so I think it means something very special to people because we don’t see any not much in central Appalachia,” Wimer says.

WMMT has been on the air since 1985, and at its peak they were able to reach around 300,000 listeners. Now the goal is to deliver important messages with resources for people in this community who have been affected by the floods.

“You know this happened at the end of last week, so now we’re kind of in full mode, you know, recording public service announcements and trying to get targeted information out about people,” Wimer said.

Now WMMT has been able to purchase a mobile vehicle with emergency funding which it will turn into a temporary studio.

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Wimer tea

“It was actually delivered yesterday. So it’s going to be upgraded to sort of become our new temporary broadcast space until Appalshop finds a more permanent solution,” says Wimer.

This general manager says their goal now is to reconnect with the community.

“People in this area, when they listen to WMMT, they get along. You know, we focus on local music, we focus on local culture, news, people – and at the same time we put always highlight regional cultural issues. And so, I think it’s a way for people in this region, and this area in particular, to stay connected to each other,” says Wimer.

For more information about WMMT and how you can donate, you can visit, www.WMMT.org/donate.

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