Broadcasting Appalachian voices, jump-starting conversations

  • Since 1985, Appalshop has also operated WMMT-FM (Mountain Community Radio), a radio station located in Whitesburg, Kentucky which serves much of central Appalachia (including portions of eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia, and western West Virginia) with music and programming relevant to the region and its culture. Appalshop

  • Appalshop’s crew captures a story on sustainable forestry practices in Appalachia. New income opportunities, such as selective timber harvests and non-timber products, are emerging for private landowners in Appalachia. Appalshop

  • For rural communities in Appalachia, media plays a key role in its ability to influence public perceptions. Appalshop plays into the power of the media by choosing which stories to depict and how to tell those stories. Appalshop

  • Appalshop began in 1969 as a U.S. Government "War on Poverty" experiment in community-based filmmaking. Until Appalshop began, there were few opportunities for local people to use media to tell their own, often very different, stories. Appalshop

Appalshop is in its fifth decade using cultural organizing and place-based media, arts and education to advance social justice, environmental sustainability, and economic equity.

Located in the central Appalachian coalfields in Whitesburg, KY (population 2,500), Appalshop enlists the power of art to document, interpret, and revitalize the traditions and contemporary creativity of Appalachia; to tell stories the commercial cultural industries don’t, challenging stereotypes with Appalachian visions and voices; to support communities’ efforts to achieve justice and equity; to promote cultural diversity, pluralism and human rights as positive social values; and to participate in regional, national, and global movements toward these ends.

Making Connections is a project of Appalshop’s Community Media Initiative (CMI) and WMMT-FM. The multi-media platform is a hub for sharing news, stories, and information highlighting both opportunities and challenges for building a healthy future for Appalachia’s people and its land. Recent radio features include the potential closure of 9 post offices in eastern Kentucky’s Letcher County, a grassroots citizens’ organization opposing proposed school consolidation, and potential income opportunities from non-timber forest products.

In their partnership with the Center for Rural Strategies, the Making Connections team will work to develop a regional communications strategy centered on building support for the release of additional Abandoned Mine Lands Funds as a cornerstone for increased investment in an Appalachian restoration economy.

Making Connections exemplifies Appalshop’s theory of social change because it is built on the belief that in order for healthy, just and equitable economic development to occur within the Appalachian region, residents have to be at the core of creating, articulating and insisting upon the solutions. For this to happen many steps are necessary, and projects like Making Connections plays key role in that process.

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