Article Contributed by
The Reg Lenna Center For The Arts
Jamestown’s only locally owned and operated non-religious radio station, WRFA (107.9 FM Jamestown, streaming at www.WRFALP.com), celebrates 10 years on the airwaves with a special concert on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. from the area’s biggest homegrown music sensation, 10,000 Maniacs. The concert is part of a daylong celebration of community radio, which will feature live versions of some of WRFA’s original programs.
WRFA began broadcasting as a non-commercial, low power radio station on Sept. 13, 2004 with a mission to provide educational and volunteer radio programming to listeners in the Jamestown area. It was started by musician Dennis Drew from 10,000 Maniacs, with a broadcast license held by the Arts Council for Chautauqua County. Since its first broadcast, the station has grown to include online streaming, a variety of volunteer-produced programs and a public affairs department that focuses on news and issues affecting the greater Jamestown Community.
Today, the station continues to operate with an independent spirit, mixing syndicated public radio programming with locally produced music, news and public affairs shows. Its license is currently held by Reg Lenna Center for The Arts.
Jamestown’s 10,000 Maniacs are part of a small group of American bands that defined college rock during the 1980’s and 1990’s. For over three decades they have written and performed powerful, danceable and socially conscious original music including “What’s The Matter Here?”, “Like The Weather” and “These Are Days.” The group toured extensively and independently produced their own records years before the industry caught on. After signing with Elektra Records, they achieved international fame with several albums, including the acclaimed Our Time In Eden
Since the departure of original singer, Natalie Merchant and the death of founding member Robert Buck, the band has settled with a lineup including original members, Steve Gustafson and Dennis Drew, longtime drummer Jerry Augustyniak, guitar player Jeff Erickson and their vocalist since 1994, Mary Ramsey. The Maniacs released the album, Music From The Motion Picture in 2013 and is currently working on their new album, Twice Told Tales.
The Maniacs played at The Reg in 2006 and, in 2011, celebrated 30 years with concerts at Jamestown Community College (JCC) and an art retrospective at The Reg’s 3rd On 3rd Gallery. Drew, who continues to serve as General Manager of WRFA, is no stranger to starting up radio stations. Before his time with 10,000 Maniacs, he and bassist Gustafson started JCC’s first radio station.
The 10-year anniversary celebration starts on Friday, Sept. 12 with a special recording of _Community Matters_, a program that focuses on issues that relate to the Jamestown and Chautauqua Region. The program will feature a roundtable discussion on the future of economic development in the Jamestown area and will include officials from both local and state governments. The program will be moderated by WRFA Public Affairs Director Jason Sample. The program will be streamed online on Saturday, Sept. 13 beginning at 4 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 13, the 35th episode of Rolling Hills Radio with host, Ken Hardley, will be broadcast live and streamed online from the Studio Theater (adjacent to The Reg) before a live audience. Rolling Hills Radio features singer/songwriters and small groups from around the nation and locally who perform Americana, folk, country and other roots music. Hardley will be joined on stage by Michigan’s John Latini and Miche Fambro from Geneseo, N.Y. The show begins at 5 p.m. and is free to the public, but tickets must be ordered ahead of time at The Reg box office.
Tickets for 10,000 Maniacs are $10. Limited premium seating is available for $25. V.I.P. packages may also purchased. These include tickets to the concert, a pre-show reception on The Reg mezzanine and a meet and greet after the concert with the band in the 3rd On 3rd Gallery. The packages are priced at $60 and $75 and include food and beverages from local businesses including Sandee’s Bakery, Hartley’s Potato Chips, Stedman Corners Coffee Roasters, Gypsy Moon Cake Co., Tom’s Place, Lone Palm Cookie Company, Ecklof Bakery, Fresh Picked Vegetarian Delicatessen, Peterson’s Candies and Southern Tier Brewing Company.
Live streams of all the anniversary programs can be found on Sept. 13 at www.WRFALP.com. Streaming services will be provided by event sponsors, Digitell, Inc. and the official provider of voice and data for the Reg Lenna Center for The Arts, DFT Communications. Other sponsors include Shults Auto Group, Arthur R. Gren Company, Inc., Hogan Energy Consulting and Northwest Savings Bank.
Tickets for all of these events can be purchased and more information can be found at www.reglenna.com or by calling 716.484.7070.
The box office is open week days between 10 a.m.and 5 p.m. Reg Lenna Center for The Arts is located at 116 East Third Street with convenient street and ramp parking.