What makes WRUU the best local radio station?
“Because it is Savannah,” says station manager Dave Lake. “The station is Savannah. We represent Savannah, we communicate with Savannah, we allow people who have not had a voice before in the Savannah community.”
WRUU has been streaming for three years and on the radio for two. In that time, it’s asserted itself as the premier destination for good music and talk.
“We offer something that no one else offers here in Savannah—a very eclectic mix of music,” says Lake. “The emphasis is music you can’t hear anywhere else. We really serve the community in terms of both music and, particularly, talk.”
Lake says that being awarded Best Talk Radio Station rendered him verklempt, which, for someone who talks for a living, means a great deal.
“That’s even more impressive,” he says. “We are local talk and we try to keep the issues local.”
On WRUU’s programs, which cover a swath of topics from art to politics, the guests are given ample time to discuss what’s important to them.
“One of the things we hear from guests on the talk side is that they’re so used to coming in and doing their five- or ten-second soundbite and that’s all about their organization that is shared,” says Lake. “We will spend half an hour with them, an hour with them, talking about their issues. The same is true of aldermen. We have aldermen coming through all the time because of the fact that they get an hour to talk about the issues that face the city.”
In Lake’s eyes, one of the most important parts of the station is the time devoted to it. WRUU is run completely by volunteers and has five teams dedicated to making it work: fundraising, finance infrastructure, media, and programming. Several people move between the teams or juggle more than one role at once, a testament to the passion this radio station inspires.
Lake has been with the station since its inception and remembers the first class of hosts.
“We had a really good complement of hosts when we first went on the air, and that was a good start,” he says. “Since we’re all volunteer, we churn people. We presently have about 75 people who are either hosts or producers, but we’ve had well over a hundred people total during our life as a station.” – Rachael Flora
Runner-up, Both: Georgia Public Broadcasting, FM 91