People to Watch
(page 7 of 11)
Galen Joseph-Hunter & Tom Roe
By: Shannon Gallagher
Though the days when the family would gather ’round the radio for their evening entertainment are long gone, community radio is alive and well in the upper Valley thanks to Galen Joseph-Hunter and her husband Tom Roe, among the founders of WGXC: Hands-on Radio. The station, which launched online in May of this year (at www.wgxc.org) and hopes to be up and running at 90.7 FM by next summer, serves Greene and Columbia counties. As a project of free103point9 — a New York State-based nonprofit arts organization focused on cultivating transmission arts — WGXC programming will represent the combined efforts of radio professionals, artists, and community members. “It’s a community radio station, a unique one,” says Roe. “It’s radio done by members of the community in creative ways.”
Full-time Greene County residents since 2004, Roe and Joseph-Hunter recognized in their new home an opportunity to provide a much-needed community service. “Giving people access to get their voices on the air is exciting,” enthuses Roe. “The thing about Greene and Columbia counties, there is almost no media coverage of what goes on here. No television or radio that is regularly reporting on this area. You can’t turn on anything any day of the week and hear what’s going on in Germantown or Valatie or Cairo or Windham. Papers are struggling. A lot of what goes on in town government goes on behind closed doors.”
WGXC will change all that, according to Roe. “There will be shows about the arts, local history, and a heavy focus in the mornings on agriculture and farming. There will be shows about local politics, local musicians. We’ll have live performances and live feeds from local venues that already have music, poetry readings, and lectures. We’ll broadcast live town hall meetings. Whatever is going on in the area, the radio station will be reflecting that.”
The station will also further the work of free103point9. Founded as an artists’ collective by Roe and two others, the organization cultivates the lesser-known transmission arts genre through a number of projects, including exhibitions and performances, educational initiatives, a distribution label, and an artists fellowship program; they also serve as a New York State Council of the Arts re-granter for individual media artists. Joseph-Hunter defines transmission arts as time-based or live art that works with the transmission spectrum or airwaves, and manifests in radio art, light art, video, installation, etc. “We’re excited to give transmission artists the opportunity to work in a rural setting — media artists don’t often get that opportunity. The FM radio station will not only give transmission artists the opportunity to work with FM signals, but will also provide an opportunity to work with community members,” says Joseph-Hunter, free103point9’s executive director since 2002.