WHUP, From Conception To Birth
One morning back in 2010, a few regulars were chatting at Cup-A-Joe, Hillsborough's coffee shop and daytime social hub, marveling at the town's transformation over the years from fairly typical, sleepy small southern town to vibrant, creative community. Equal parts New South and Old South, populated by natives and transplants, independent thinkers and eccentrics, most everyone somehow getting along and appreciating what others were bringing to the table. Wouldn't it be cool, they suggested over a steaming mug as blood dripped from a wild turkey hanging from the scale next door at Carolina Game & Fish onto the sidewalk below, to have a radio station in town that could provide an outlet for this unique, oddball amalgam?
Thinking wishfully, the group formed a non-profit, Hillsborough Community Media, a couple of months later. That December, a minor miracle occurred: Congress passed a piece of legislation called the Local Community Radio Act, which would open up the airwaves just enough to accommodate a community radio station in Hillsborough. The small group became larger as the idea percolated. After much waiting around for the FCC to figure out how to implement the Act, the organization submitted an application at the end of 2013 for a broadcast license, and in early 2014, the word came down from above: approved!
Next came the key choice of call letters. The board bandied about various acronyms that were either already taken by an existing station or didn't work very well. The discussion moved to whole-word options, and WHUP floated into the conversation. Discussion over. WHUP!
Over the next 20 months, WHUP's founders built the organization, recruited volunteers to manage key functions and formulated a strategic plan to raise funds, secure studio space, construct a facility and launch broadcast operations. That WHUP's plan was especially ambitious for a small station in a small town magnified the challenges at hand.
In the end, the belief that the time and place were right for WHUP proved true. More than 300 people donated time, funds or both to make WHUP a reality, and the level of talent and energy represented by the participants has been extraordinary, whether designing IT systems from scratch or banging nails. To honor everyone who made any kind of contribution to the cause, WHUP debuted on Sunday, October 11, 2015 with an all-day on-air thank you party featuring the cast of characters that made it all possible.
WHUP's vision is consistent with that of excellent community stations around the country – present a high-quality, eclectic, host-driven mix of music and conversation that collectively reflects the community we serve, with an emphasis on local and regional talent. That space has largely been abandoned by large commercial and public broadcasters, so we have plenty of room in which to operate without fear of overlap!
More specifically, WHUP seeks to distinguish itself in the following ways:
- Spotlight local artists with a special focus on live music – live in-studio, live from area venues and special events, and in rebroadcasts of recorded live performance.
- Offer listeners an on-demand service, including a streaming archive of every original WHUP show and a permanent archive of our in-house sessions.
- Embrace local personality and character in the form of news/public affairs programs that spotlight our rich cultural landscape and are not readily available elsewhere on the local or national dial.
- Base our news and public affairs programming on what works and the old marketplace of ideas rather than providing another tired forum for ideologues to pontificate or scream at each other.
- Employ cutting-edge technologies and strategies to maximize the potential audience.
- Maintain a distinctly Hillsborough feel that acknowledges, respects and embraces positive local and regional differences, while remaining thoroughly modern and expansive in our thinking.
- Encourage feedback and input from all quarters. So what do you think?
They put it on the Barrelhead!
Well before WHUP hit the airwaves, we knew we'd need to raise a substantial amount of coin in order to build the organization and infrastructure needed to pull off our collective vision. With no guarantee and little more in hand than a logo and a plan, our Founding Business Partners and Major Founding Donors took a flier and invested their trust in WHUP, and for that we are forever grateful. WHUP would simply not exist without the support of the following community-minded businesses and individuals:
Founding Business Partners
- Leland Little Auctions
- Orange County Visitors Bureau
- Hillsborough Tourism Board & Tourism Development Authority
- Borough Business Builders
- First We Eat
- Garen McClure Law
- Gretchen Stroemer, H&R Block
- Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce
- Mack Orthodontics
- Orange County Solid Waste Management Department
- Orange County Sportsplex
- Pickard Roofing Co Inc.
- Silvestri Properties
- Sports Endeavors
- Swanson Violins
- UNC Health Care Hillsborough Campus
- Weaver Street Market
- Yep Roc Music Group
- Barry M. Lamont
- Bob Burtman
- Elizabeth Woodman & Eric Hallman
- Hazen Ham
- Joni Madison & Gina Kilpatrick
- Kevin Holmes
- Lee Smith & Hal Crowther
- Chris Carter
- David & Debbie Kornegay
- David & Elizabeth Hays
- Debbie Piscitelli
- Heather McKay & John Colvin
- Rick Brewer
- Reed Johnson
- Sharon Wheeler / Purple Crow Books
- Tom Rankin & Jill McCorkle
- Coleman, Gledhill, Hargrave, Merritt & Rainsford P.C.
- Glenn Mills Fisher & Mahoney
- John & Jill Shoneman
- Matt & Susan Springer
- Stephen Demorest