Over four years ago, when I first moved to Wheeling, West Virginia, I stumbled upon a hidden gem on the radio dial – WWOV 101.1. Since then, this station has become an integral part of my life, transporting me to a different time and place with its timeless programming. As a lover of classic country and bluegrass, the music played on WWOV resonates deeply with me, evoking cherished memories of listening to my father’s records. However, today, WWOV faces a critical challenge that threatens its very existence.
The Wheeling Jamboree is more than just a radio station; it is a cultural institution akin to the renowned Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. For both locals and those beyond Wheeling, it serves as a precious source of music that can be hard to find on mainstream radio. Legendary artists like Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, and Charley Pride have graced the stage of the Jamboree, leaving an indelible mark on the rich musical history of this region.
Recently, the Wheeling Jamboree made a plea for volunteers on their Facebook page, recognizing the need for fresh support as older members transition into retirement. The response was overwhelming, reflecting the deep affection and appreciation that the community has for this institution. However, what was not explicitly mentioned in the post is the urgent financial need to keep the station on the air.
To ensure the continued operation of WWOV 101.1, $7,200 is required immediately. This sum will be allocated towards covering outstanding fees and sustaining the next six months of operating costs, particularly those associated with the rental of a cell tower provided by Lauttamus Communications for transmission. This financial support is crucial to safeguarding the future of WWOV and preserving its vital role in the cultural landscape of Wheeling.
Wheeling is experiencing a revitalization, with new businesses opening, downtown streets being transformed, and historic buildings finding new life. The Wheeling Jamboree, with its storied history, should be at the heart of this resurgence. Keeping WWOV 101.1 on the air is the first step towards breathing new life into this institution, allowing it to continue its legacy for generations to come.
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If you want to see WWOV remain on the air, then I implore you to join me in supporting this cause. Any contribution can make a significant impact in helping to preserve the tradition of the ‘World’s Original Radio Jamboree.’ As the second oldest Country Music Radio Stage Show in history, this organization is committed to educating future generations about West Virginia’s rich musical heritage. It also plays a vital role in Wheeling’s cultural landscape, supporting the historic Capitol Theatre and recently established Event Center and Museum.
The urgency is clear: WWOV 101.1 needs financial support to continue its work. Let’s come together and show that we are truly The Friendly City by ensuring that this beacon of musical heritage remains accessible for years to come. Let’s help safeguard a piece of West Virginia’s cultural legacy for future generations. You can learn more and contribute to the “Keep WWOV 101.1 on the air” campaign by visiting its GoFundMe page.
• Melissa Rebholz was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, to a Sicilian/German family. She grew up in a household revolving around food. In 2007, a summer of volunteering for GrowNYC (New York City’s Farmer’s Markets) led her down the path to culinary school at The Natural Gourmet Institute and 10 subsequent years of farming from Long Island to Sonoma to Tennessee. Working simultaneously in kitchens to support her farming habit, Melissa migrated back to the rustbelt in October of 2019 to help Grow Ohio Valley open the Public Market as the head chef. Her hobbies include foraging, baking, dinner parties and exploring her new home of Wheeling, West Virginia. She currently owns and operates Midge’s Kitchen where she offers weekly menus for pickup in Downtown Wheeling that all utilize local, seasonal ingredients. Her most recent venture is Midge’s Hotdogs, a mobile hot dog cart in Downtown Wheeling.