Making art + media in the mountains since 1969.
Known as “real people radio” and “possum radio,” WMMT 88.7 FM broadcasts mountain people’s music, culture, and social issues as no other station could. Founded in 1985, Appalshop’s community radio is non-commercial and on the air 24 hours a day online and at 88.7 FM.
We are proud to provide broadcast space for 50-some volunteer DJs to send music out over the Appalachian airwaves every day, and their creative expression is the heart and soul of our station.
WMMT’s mission also extends beyond music into coverage of issues facing our mountain communities, with original programming airing every week thanks to our radio staff who produce it.
With a listening radius in five Appalachian states, our programming is as diverse as our listenership, putting the lie to the stereotypes about our region and spotlighting the incredible diversity that has always made up Appalachia.
Each week we air eight hours of original public affairs programming. In fact, 98 percent of everything we broadcast is locally produced, making us a true community radio station in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. WMMT produces both regular public affairs programming and radio documentary features on these local issues, providing perspectives directly from people in our own communities.
Especially worth highlighting are long-time shows like “Mountain News and World Report,” “Mountain Talk,” and “Making Connections News.” Thanks to them, we’re an active participant in discussion of public policy that will benefit coalfield communities and the Appalachian region as a whole, telling stories of people who live here as no other outlet could.
We also collaborate with producers in our community and the wider region to create our public affairs programming: community shows like “Arts Across Pike” and “Knott Downtown” amplify local arts programming here in Eastern Kentucky, while regional shows like “Inside Appalachia” from WVPB highlight stories from across the coalfields.
Through a journalism collaborative with the Ohio Valley ReSource (OVR), we partner with six other public media outlets in three states to strengthen news coverage of the most important issues in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. OVR reporters have led reporting on the rise in black lung and the mine protests during their tenure at WMMT.
Restorative Radio is rooted in Appalshop’s nationally recognized Calls from Home program, which for more than a decade has sent messages and songs out over the radio from family members to their loved ones incarcerated in the mountains of central Appalachia.
Calls from Home was created in response to aggressive state and federal initiatives to build prisons in the face of the declining coal industry. More than 15 years ago, we first began the tradition of a hip-hop and call show with “Holler to the Hood.”
Today, we record calls during “Hot 88.7 Hip Hop from the Hill Top,” one of only two hip hop shows broadcasting from central Appalachia (the other, “Jukebox Joint” is also on Appalshop’s station WMMT 88.7 FM).
Every Monday night from 7-9 PM, we record calls during “Hip Hop from the Hill Top.” We broadcast the calls the same night we record them from 9-10 PM. We have produced a series of audio postcards and a podcast series, as well as workshop curriculum.
Many of the people incarcerated in the prisons in our region are hundreds, even thousands of miles away from home. Our show provides some relief from often exorbitant telephone fees and — most importantly — a lifeline for families to stay in touch.
Our local radio signal reaches:
United States Penitentiary Big Sandy
Otter Creek Correctional Center
Wallens Ridge State Prison
Wise County, VA
Red Onion State Prison
Wise County, VA
Keen Mountain Correctional Center
United States Penitentiary Lee
Lee County, VA
Wise Correctional Unit
additional regional jails and detention centers
Appalshop’s radio station WMMT 88.7 FM broadcasts traditional Appalachian music over the airwaves, and we support it live and in person, too with a variety of regular events.
Seedtime on the Cumberland, Appalshop's annual music festival, strives to be a mirror for mountain people and communities, highlighting our cultural riches and the vibrancy of our region. Started in 1986, it fast became a summer staple for old-time and bluegrass music. But its lineup has evolved with the region to include acts like Joan Brannon (West African drumming), Cornbread & Tortillas (a fusion band from central and South America, Greece, and Appalachia) and Grits & Soul (soul and blues from the Deep South). Typical Seedtime on the Cumberland schedules now also include a companion punk show in Appalshop’s Boone building across the street.
Our after-school Appalachian music program, Passing the Pick and Bow, is often the only music education that our local children and teens get. Our program is free and year-round, and puts banjos, fiddles, guitars and mandolins in the hands of nearly 100 students each year.
The programming on Appalshop’s radio station WMMT 88.7 FM is as eclectic as the tastes of the 50-odd volunteer DJs who run it. With a listening radius that extends into five Appalachian states, the vast majority of the music and public affairs reporting that we broadcast comes directly from the communities that tune in to hear it.
We have programmers like Zelma Forbes, a math professor known for yodeling on her show, “Sweet Tater’s Tubers;” regionally renowned musician Rich Kirby, who currently plays with his band Rich and the Po’ Folk and DJs the show “Deep in Tradition;” and Tanya Turner, a sex educator who anchors our “Feminist Friday” show.
Our DJs are as diverse as our listenership, because both come directly from the mountain communities we draw from and amplify.