In 1970, Richard Fusco moved to Woodstock from New York City to help his friend convert the burnt out shell of a building into what would eventually become legendary rock lounge The Joyous Lake.
One day, fiddling with the FM dial, Richard discovered he could listen to the audio stream of the Woodstock public access TV channel on his radio. “I realized, wow, I could have an inst
WDST founder Richard Fusco (center) jokes around in the
studio with Morning Man Jimmy Buff (left) and radio host Greg
ant radio station.” This fluke of fate was the first humble hinting at Radio Woodstock.
Pretty soon Richard was on air four hours a day, five days a week, playing music and talking to guests. To an eclectic soundtrack of classical, jazz, rock, and blues, the next decade saw rising listener numbers, a petition to transfer an FM frequency from Delhi to Woodstock, a fierce battle for rights to the new station, and finally on April 29, 1980, the debut of the Radio Woodstock we know and love today.
These days they do everything from a real-life School of Rock to music and beer festivals to a record label. Richard says that like all industries, “Radio has to evolve. We’ve evolved into a multimedia event production company. Our goal is to have multiple touch points with audience—on-air, online, and onsite with our events.”
Still through all the change and growth, WDST hasn’t lost its integrity. “We’ve never compromised our values of being unique and maintaining the spirit of Woodstock, while wanting to be part of the entire Hudson Valley community. We really wanted to work with local independent businesses, like us, so we’ve done that as much as possible. We wanted to support local music, and not play the same 500 billboard songs. So we have a mix of paying tribute to classic artists that were part of the Woodstock era as well as turning people onto great new music like the Avett Brothers, Brandi Carlile, Mumford and Sons.”
Radio Woodstock offers up more than just a pleasing mix of musical genres. Richard says, “I think the Hudson Valley is at the beginning of a business and cultural renaissance about how to live. As a radio station and as a media company we have a responsibility to help out in a big way. We have the ears of tens of thousands of people everyday and we have a responsibility to help foster the evolution of us in the Hudson Valley.”
To that end, they feature uplifting content on all their media outlets. “Internet has given us a great opportunity. Having a relationship with our listeners is very important. Facebook has really given us the ability to engage our audience and have them interact with us. We may not be the most powerful station in the market but we have the most Facebook fans.” Weighing in at just under 36,000 fans, Radio Woodstock has a stronger following than some of the biggest nationwide stations.
In addition to the music stories, which are a given, Richard says WDST’s page strives to post, “Inspiring things. We don’t believe that pointing a finger at something wrong helps. If we put up information that will inspire someone, there is a possibility for a new vision. So instead of ‘Oil is polluting, doom and gloom,’ we like to post, ‘One day last week a Texas wind farm produced 40 percent of the energy needed for the whole state.’ We want our audience to create, in their own mind, a vision for a world where people accept each other for who they are, a country with no borders and boundaries where you can freely come and go. We really take this radio thing seriously as a responsibility—not only to entertain and inform but to inspire people.”
293 Tinker St.
Woodstock, NY 12498