Suzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nFor the past 40 years, Allegheny Mountain Radio \u2013\u00a0originally WVMR \u2013 has served as a source of news, entertainment and history for Pocahontas County. In that time, it has expanded to include FM stations as well as stations and staff in Highland and Bath counties in Virginia.\r\n\r\nFirst and foremost, the radio station has always been community-based and it recently joined a nationwide initiative to get the community more involved with creating content.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s the Community Cares Initiative,\u201d station program director Heather Niday said. \u201cThis is something started by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe initiative is in its second year and is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.\r\n\r\n\u201cBasically, it gives stations some tools to make better communications, better connections, with their audiences and their communities,\u201d Niday said.\r\n\r\nStation manager Scott Smith received an email about the program last year and after discussing the details with Niday, the two decided they wanted AMR to participate.\r\n\r\nThe project begins with research, and that began during Pioneer Days. AMR created a simple, five question survey, asking the community what it would like to hear on the radio and in podcasts which would be broadcast on the radio and online.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re going to keep going to festivals and other events to get these surveys out, probably through September, to gather more information,\u201d Niday said. \u201cWe\u2019re also hoping to recruit citizen journalists and people who would like to create podcasts. Could be a variety of topics. We just want some people who want to learn how to do it and learn how to report, and learn how to tell their stories.\u201d\r\n\r\nAt this time, the station is open to all suggestions and ideas for podcast subjects. It\u2019s more important to find people interested in creating than finding a specific subject to cover.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think we\u2019re hoping to be informed by what we hear from the listeners survey,\u201d Smith said. \u201c\u2018Perhaps, I\u2019d like to hear a podcast on the formation of such and such in Pocahontas County,\u2019 but that doesn\u2019t mean it\u2019s limited to any of those things.\u201d\r\n\u201cWe are looking for whatever people are interested in and that\u2019s what we\u2019re hoping to find with this survey,\u201d Niday added. \u201cRather than us trying to figure out what you want to hear, you tell us what you want to hear.\u201d\r\n\r\nSmith said he hopes the community takes advantage of the opportunity to create content because it is uncommon for radio stations to be open to such things.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think the whole project is just a broader way for us to allow the community to take advantage of us,\u201d he said. \u201cI say it quite a bit \u2013\u00a0this is a resource that is not available in most of America where you could walk into a radio station and go, \u2018I\u2019d like to be a DJ\u2019 and they go, \u2018Let us show you how to do it.\u2019\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is another way to let people become more involved with us to help curate what we have on the air, for us to help curate the next generation or a new generation of radio users and podcast creators,\u201d he continued. \r\n\r\nBroadcasting on the radio will always be the number one priority at AMR, but projects like this help the station to expand its reach and creates another opportunity for stories to be heard.\r\n\r\n\u201cRadio is always going to be our core mission because it\u2019s what we do the best, but that\u2019s not to say you can\u2019t add some flavors and some different things that go along with it,\u201d Smith said. \u201cThis is not so much a shift as it is an expansion.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs part of the project, AMR received a stipend to purchase equipment for podcasters to use in creating their content. The station also plans to host a training seminar for those interested in participating but are unsure of their skill level.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe would offer all the training \u2013 from recording, to coming up with ideas, to producing it,\u201d Niday said. \u201cThe whole thing. We\u2019d want to teach everybody the whole darn thing.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhile most podcasts tend to be at least an hour long, Niday said that is not a requirement for this project.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cNot everybody has the time or even the inclination to come up and do a two-hour radio show every week,\u201d she said. \u201cIf they don\u2019t want to do that, maybe producing a five minute or a ten minute, or a fifteen minute podcast doesn\u2019t seem like such a daunting thing. So we\u2019re hoping to recruit some more people.\u201d\r\n\r\nThose interested in participating in the Community Cares Initiative or want to learn more about the podcast project, contact Heather Niday at heather@amr mail.org or call 304-799-6004.