Local radio station, WVLP, is a Valparaiso staple. The station is a nonprofit organization that was started by three citizens of Northwest Indiana under the ownership of Project Neighbors, also a nonprofit. In October 2002, WVLP began broadcasting to the people of Valparaiso.
Though the radio station has been a benefit to the community, WVLP wanted to get to more people. They have great content to share, featuring folks from Valpo and the surrounding towns talking about their passions and playing great music, but their reach wasn't far. That has changed thanks to the help of three local businesses who are all about connecting and keeping Valpo a vibrant and ever-evolving community.
"The future in radio is streaming, being able to reach people around the country. The people that do shows here have friends around the country and they can only reach us via streaming. It was starting to become an issue since we only were able to reach 20 to 30 people," Gregg Kovach, Executive Director of WVLP said.
In order to reach more people, equipment needed to be upgraded and reconfigured. As a nonprofit, WVLP is supported 100% by listener contributions. It is a smaller nonprofit that does get backing from listeners, but the money just wasn't there.
Chris Mahlmann, CEO of ValpoLife, approached Kovach with an idea to expand the station's reach while simultaneously connecting to other great local businesses. The result was an in kind relationship where Impact Solutions, JM2 Webdesigners, and us here at ValpoLife connected with the station and exchanged services for shout outs from WVLP. No money was needed for this, it was one local organization helping another.
"We are here to communicate messages, so I could do that easily all day long on the radio station," Kovach said.
There were two major parts to the plan: get the radio station streaming to more people and improve equipment setup, and update the website. The first task was taken on by Impact and our lovely Lady Lifer and Web Developer, Maureen Davey.
Davey did some legwork researching streaming software that would best improve WVLP's reach. She then relayed her findings to Impact who finished off the project by installing the software and providing equipment improvements. A computer complete with Windows 7 was given, free of charge, to WVLP to bring them into the 21st Century. The new streaming software can support hundreds of listeners simultaneously.
"I found a streaming service that would help handle streaming to a higher volume of listeners and tried to make sure it would be cost-effective and also compatible with WVLP's equipment," Davey said.
"WVLP is a small nonprofit and having my own nonprofit makes me understand how hard it is to get the word out,"Jeremy Carnahan, President and CEO of Impact Solutions said. "The station is involved in the community and it's a win for everyone. The amount of time and effort from us is minimal in terms of the amount of power that it will bring to the community."
JM2 Webdesigners went to work updating the station's website.
"We created a new website with direction from Rich Schmidt and Gregg Kovach on what they wanted to see,"John Marx, Owner and President of JM2 Webdesigners said. "We created an easy to use administrative interface and will be conducting on-going training with Gregg and anyone else that he would like to administer their website... We are truly looking forward to a long and lasting friendship with them."
JM2 updated the color scheme, added real-time weather, added current day's schedule to the home page, created pages dedicated to individual shows as well as any archived shows that exist and created a centralized CDN (Content Delivery Network) for all show archives. They added a blog, pages for sponsors and donor information, and have responsive site designs for desktop, tablet, and mobile viewing. Check out the new website here.
During the coming months, JM2 will be adding more items and changes to the website like photo galleries and complete sponsor profiles that they will maintain themselves.
"I was glad to help with this project since WVLP produces tons of local content and gives residents a great opportunity to help support and contribute to the Valparaiso community. Seeing these businesses come together to assist a great nonprofit organization like WVLP was awesome - both Impact and JM2 Webdesigners were eager to jump in and volunteer their time and expertise, and I know both WVLP and the Valparaiso community as a whole will benefit immensely from their hard work," Davey said.
"This has been huge for us. It's going to help us with our branding and people will be able to access a nice, interactive website. It's reflective of what we want to be. Streaming is the way to the future. With Impact we can reach people all over the world. I'm ecstatic about this! I love our presence online with the new website thanks to JM2 and with the streaming and the connection that was made with the help of ValpoLife. I can't say enough about what was set up for us," Kovach said.