CHADBOURN, N.C. (WECT) - WVOE is the first African American owned and operated radio station east of the Mississippi River. The business in Chadbourn has broadcast its signal to locals for 57 years, but that might soon end.
WVOE has seen their building and equipment deteriorate over the years and seen the decline in people listening to AM radio, which makes it hard to get ad revenue.
“[Closing the station] would be very detrimental to the community," said Lester Frink, station manager. “I will say that because it is a lively part. This has been here for a long time. I think it would be a big loss.”
For many in the community, the station has been there for the majority of their lives. They enjoy the unique mix of gospel, blues and R&B as well as get some of their news from the station.
Many in the older generation say that’s all they listen to.
“I love it, I love listening to it, listen to the news mostly, it’d be real upsetting to me," said Herbert Frink, a longtime Chadbourn member. "I think a lot of them would feel right bad about it if it closed.”
With one of the founders dead and another living with Alzheimer’s in Durham, the station just wants to keep their memories going more than anything.
“They put so much effort and time and money into this station and to see this end would be like erasing their names from history for good,” said Tommy Brown, gospel DJ of the station.
WVOE has created a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to keep the station going and hopes their station will be able to see 57 more years.