If you are a resident or just a regular summer visitor to Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod …… the place that Vice President Joe Biden once declared as the very start of the world ….then you will already know it is the one place in this country where you can really be who you are and fit right into this very welcoming and eclectic community. From pilgrims to Portuguese fisherman, and from artists to gay men and women, over the centuries the Town has evolved into being the far most liberal point in a very liberal state.
Nothing represents P Town’s core spirit more than WOMR its local radio station that completely conveys such a real sense of community with such energy and enthusiasm that has long been forgotten and discarded in urban areas. Listening to it one summer’s afternoon so intrigued Boston based filmmaker Alan Chebot that he had the idea of making a documentary about the station and its DJ’s. not knowing at the time that he would be filming on and off for the next four years to make what turned out to be this very affectionate profile.
The uniqueness is not simply because it is, as the title declares, the country’s most outermost radio, it is more because it is one where it’s diverse band of volunteer DJ’s are totally oblivious to the current fads and trends of the ‘outside world’ and play an extraordinary range of different music that caters to the most catholic of tastes. They do so with such passion, and obviously love nothing more than pushing the envelope as far as they can knowing that their loyal audiences (which thanks to the internet is now worldwide) will eagerly embrace. It is as one of them gleefully explains, just like friends broadcasting for friends.
Chebot trails several of the regular crew like Chuck Coles who does a 5 am show every Monday. Coles, a very affable committed peacenik, literally lives off the grid in a yurt in Wellfleet woods and has been broadcasting at the station for a couple of decades now. On the other hand there is the campy Lady Di, who is the female persona of Vernon Porter the secretary to P Town’s Board of Selectman. She is a larger than life personality bedecked in her bright matronly dresses as she does her Friday afternoon drive home show playing the likes of Connie Francis and peppering her constant chat with calling everyone ‘darling.’ The show is appropriately called ‘Leggs Up & Dancing’. Somewhere in the middle is the rest of this extraordinarily disparate group who are spinning funk, or opera, or county, or modern classic etc etc and it is clear that their turn at the controls broadcasting for their shift is the high light of their week.
Nothing tests community spirit more than responding to a disaster and in WOMR’s case it was in a fierce winter storm of 2012 that broke the station’s antenna and actually took them off the air just as they were planning to celebrate their 30th Anniversary. As the price for a new one kept going up so did all the efforts to raise enough money to pay for it. It was despite the fact that the station manager commented that none of the DJ’s relished the idea of constant fundraising and nor did the listeners …. it was as if talking about the need for money would spoil this cozy bubble in which the station has purposely maneuvered it self into.
What Chebot captures so astutely is this remarkable bonhomie of a team of devoted locals who without exception just light up when they talk about what WOMR means to them. By the end of this profile you come away kicking yourself for never having had the sense to tune your radio dial to their wavelength before today, but at least knowing that it is a habit that you will so want to adopt from now on.