Artists for Vieques
WVQR 90.1 FM - Radio Vieques
A4MD’s prototype project “Artists for Vieques” enabled the successful launch of full power public radio station WVQR, 90.1 FM on Vieques Island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico.
The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques had given up hope of having their dream of a full power radio station come true when, after having received FCC approval to build a station in 2010, federal funding cutbacks for public radio removed access to funding for construction of their station.
Artists for Media Diversity, working in partnership with the Latino Public Radio Consortium, offered Radio Vieques an opportunity to create a digital album of exclusive performances of original songs from recording artists in Austin, Texas and Puerto Rico.
Calle 13 / Willie Nelson and Family /
Los Lonely Boys
Zoraida Santiago / Roy Brown / Tito Auger / Pavel Urkiza
Patricia Vonne / Chabela Rodríguez / Antonio Cabán Vale / Miriam Pérez
Charanga Cakewalk / Los Bandidos Cósmicos / / Mc Natra y Lady M
HACHE / Rei Ortiz / Mikie Rivera / Luis Rodríguez
The international publicity gained from the release of “Artists for Vieques” built community momentum with the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida, New York and beyond. The project received local and international press and was featured on national radio and international television networks.
The funds raised from the sales of “Artists for Vieques” on A4MD’s website secured the down payment of the radio antenna at a strategic moment in the deployment of the station. WVQR had less than three months before it’s FCC imposed deadline for first broadcast of June 30, 2013 was reached - no broadcast, no station.
On June 29th, 2013, with the help of the Vieques community, volunteer engineers, generous donations of equipment and finances from people who had heard of the project - thanks in part to the artists and songwriters who had donated downloads and had given statements of support - WVQR 90.1FM filed formal notification with the FCC that they had successfully completed the test broadcasts of their station.
On September 2, 2013, Radio Vieques began daily transmission of regular programming featuring music, culture and community voices on WVQR 90.1 FM.
¡Viva Radio Vieques!
"Willie and the Nelson Family are honored to include our version of "A Peaceful Solution" on Artists for Media Diversity's Virtual Album. This song that was born from a dream now has a chance to bring to reality the dreams of the people of Puerto Rico and her sister island, Vieques. Music can and will heal the world." ~ Willie Nelson and Family
"There are two things that slow down the development of individuals and nations: fear and censorship. The people of Vieques forgot about fear and fought side-by-side with many other conscientious Puerto Ricans until US Navy was driven out of the Island, after 60 years of destroying Vieques’ beaches and marine life systematically, devastating its environment and lands and endangering the health of its population. Vieques is now in the process of recovering and rebuilding. A public radio station like Radio Vieques (WVQR 90.1 FM) can represent an uncensored voice for Vieques and for all Puerto Ricans. If anything has characterized Calle 13 is for not allowing the voice of the people to be silenced by governments economic interests. We must defend freedom of expression and the best way to promote it is to practice it. ~ Calle 13
Artists for Vieques is Born!
From Vieques we extend a warm embrace of gratitude and solidarity to artists in Puerto Rico and in the United States who donated songs for the virtual album, Artists for Vieques - a project of Artists for Media Diversity to support the creation of Radio Vieques WVQR 90.1FM.
Your musical contribution reminds us of the unique dynamic of mutual inspiration between artists and the struggle for peace on Vieques that helped us put an end to half century of US Navy bombing here on May 1st, 2003. Now, as we are about to celebrate the tenth year anniversary of that great victory, your artistic solidarity will help us establish Radio Vieques, a key tool in the continuing struggles for decontamination, return of our lands, sustainable community development and attention to the health crisis we suffer, due in great measure, to military toxics that sicken and kill our loved ones.
We particularly thank three women for their commitment to Vieques and their work on this project: Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, Zoraida Santiago; Barbara Kooyman, Executive Director, Artists for Media Diversity; and Ileana Rivera Santa, Manager, Latino Public Radio Consortium/National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
Vieques is Puerto Rico! Vieques is Austin!
Robert Rabin Siegal, CPRDV Director, Radio Vieques
Thanks to our Partners and Sponsors:
National Federation of Community Broadcasters Latino Public Radio Consortium Governor of the State of Texas Music Office Bauman Foundation SXSW Music Festival and SXSW Eco South Austin Popular Culture Center Texas River School, Terra Nova Mastering, Seedling Online