Keeping the Island Connected

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Voice of Vashon has been connecting islanders in their homes and cars for years. In fact, the station likes to say: “Voice of Vashon, your Island connection. Make us part of your day.” That’s the point of a new awareness and fundraising campaign launching in July: Your Island Connection Sweepstakes.

Since 2014 when Voice of Vashon got its FCC community radio license for KVSH 101.9FM, programming on the radio and TV stations has increased exponentially. Islanders have created a variety of radio shows unmatched by other regional community radio stations and even by some corporate outlets. Music and entertainment shows have blossomed. News and information shows have proliferated; VoV public service announcements and Morning Scramble interviews showcase the dozens of Island non-profits and their activities…free. Professional volunteer journalists host topical talk shows and short Island Xtras throughout the broadcast day cover Vashon topics of the day. VoV TV records and broadcasts Town Hall meetings, government leader visits and community forums on major issues, making them available after the fact On Demand at voiceofvashon.org. And, VoV’s Emergency Alert Service on 1650AM has been a critical community resource since 2009.

How does all this happen? Volunteers, nearly 50 of them, produce the on-air material. But the equipment they use to produce their shows and all the technology that connects the FM antenna to the tower, the video material to Comcast, the website to the studios and ultimately to you, the audience, is operated and maintained by a small band of volunteers who earn their minimal stipends every day. And, all that equipment costs too. Voice of Vashon keeps all this going for about $100,000 a year, a small fraction of the multi-million-dollar budgets off island stations spend.

Voice of Vashon exists as a community service, no big corporation or broadcasting giant or government agency owns VoV. All the operating dollars come from the Island community — individual donations, sustaining memberships, underwriter support and…raffles! So, VoV will launch this year’s summer raffle July 1. It’s called Your Island Connection Sweepstakes, and it will run through the Strawberry Festival to July 31. The raffle prizes have been designed to cover the cost of making connections via Internet and smart speakers. But the prizes will be given in the form of cash and gift cards that winners may spend in any way they desire. Grand prize is $1,000 cash which could cover the cost of a year of Internet service. Ten second prizes are $50 Amazon gift certificates – enough to buy a smart speaker or anything else you want. Tickets are just $20 each or participants can get a free ticket by buying five tickets for $80. It all goes to maintaining your island connection – Voice of Vashon.