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CoastLine: WHQR's 35 Unlikely Years


Those are the first sounds and the first voice heard on WHQR when it came to life on 91.3 FM 35 years ago.

Station Manager Michael Titterton introduced the new public radio station to the community on April 22, 1984; it was the first to serve southeastern North Carolina.

“…Many of you listening this morning are members of Friends of Public Radio and are aware of the various problems the organization has encountered during the gestation period of this radio station. The dedication and drive you've shown in overcoming these obstacles is, no doubt, also responsible for your waking up this early on a Sunday morning to listen to this broadcast.  Friends of Public Radio and the dream of this radio station have been in existence now for almost five years.  Now five years is a long time to wait for anything. It's even longer when you're being asked to contribute your time and money to a venture, which may or may not materialize.”  

As the community prepares to celebrate WHQR 35 years later, we thought it appropriate to meet and talk with some of the people who were instrumental in the station’s birth and growth.  In three different segments, we’ll meet key people who had a hand in shaping the station’s future.  And while this is something of a history lesson, it’s also a demonstration of what a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens has been able to do.  Whether it’s changed to the world or not – as Anthropologist Margaret Mead suggested such a group can do – well, that’s for you to decide.

The journey through station history is organized chronologically – from earliest to today. 

Segment 1:

Dr. Jerome [Jerry] Nolan, Founding Member and part of the station's first advocacy group, Friends of the Opera

Sharon Mahony, First News Director at WHQR

Segment 2:

Barbara Sullivan, Former WHQR Board President

George Scheibner, WHQR Operations Manager; longest-serving WHQR employee

Segment 3:

Jeff Hovis, Former WHQR Board Member / President

Michelle Rhinesmith, Current Station Manager

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR