Brattleboro, Vermont had its annual Fourth of July parade today, and although it is off the air, Radio Free Brattleboro had a float in the festivities. The station’s always been strongly focused on the community it served – it got its start as a project of the local teen center – and in many ways it transcended that goal. Some examples:
The Brattleboro Public Library, in need of space, was forced to get rid of its entire record collection. This included the LP library of the Chelsea House Folklore Center – an incredible collection of folk music, bluegrass and 1930s/40s-era blues/R&B. The library wanted to keep the entire collection together and wanted it to remain publicly available. There’s no better way to do that than to air it, so the music was donated to Radio Free Brattleboro. When the town of Newfane, VT’s public library had to give up its LP collection it also found a new home at RFB. This doesn’t count the individual record collections donated by several listeners over the years.
Don’t be fooled by RFB’s small-town roots – some of its talent was truly world-class. One was “Henry the Cheeseman,” who in a previous life was known as Emmy award-winning TV/film director/producer Peter Tewksbury. Henry ran the cheese department at the local food co-op and authored a cookbook using home-grown Vermont cheeses, published just last year. He also hosted an hour-long show on Radio Free Brattleboro, during which he read from various works of classic fiction. He passed away in February, just shy of his 80th birthday.
I’ve been remiss in failing to mention V-man’s interview with RFB co-founder David Long which aired on Freak Radio Santa Cruz two days after RFB’s bust: Listen to the excerpted segment here (16:16, 3.8 MB) if you don’t want to download the full Rockin’ the Boat program.
Radio Free Brattleboro will hold a community meeting in a week or so to plot its future and the station’s fifth birthday party is still on for July 13.