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Radio station WVMR is the state’s only radio station owned by a cooperative, the Pocahontas Communications Cooperative. The call letters stand for West Virginia Mountain Radio. Broadcasting on 1370 AM since 1981, the non-commercial station provides the only local broadcast service to Pocahontas County. Its programming features local news and information as well as an eclectic mix of music, including live appearances by local musicians. Many of the disc jockeys are volunteers.

Pocahontas is the most sparsely populated county in the state. WVMR provides information to its 9,000 residents, who are scattered across nearly 950 square miles of rugged mountain terrain. The station’s value to the county was never more evident than during the major floods of 1985 and 1996, when its round-the-clock broadcasts kept the community informed and unified.

WVMR operates by special permit near the center of a radio quiet zone mandated by the nearby National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank. The station must operate within the technical limits established by the observatory. Its AM signal is less likely than FM broadcasts to interfere with radio telescope reception of very high frequency signals from outer space.

In the mid-1990s, the cooperative helped residents of nearby Bath and Highland counties in Virginia to start their own community radio stations; neither county had had a local station before. The three stations are linked together as Allegheny Mountain Radio. Part of the day all three stations broadcast the same program, and at other times each has its own separate broadcast.

Written by Gibbs Kinderman