John Braden moved to Ptown in 1991 and started volunteering at the local community radio station, WOMR, within a couple of weeks of “washing ashore” here… and he’s stayed there ever since, first as a DJ and then as operations manager before finally becoming the station’s executive director. “I’d been a radio fan for as long as I can remember,” he says. “I loved college radio in high school. I was listening to what was then WSMU out of what was then Southeastern Massachusetts University—that’s UMass Dartmouth now—and WBUR out of Brown University. Unfortunately, both stations have since sold their licenses and have become internet stations.”
But he’d become enamored of the community radio vibe. “I love noncommercial, independent media for its diversity of voices and for playing non-mainstream music that is far more interesting than the corporate variety played over and over again on commercial stations complete with advertisements that come across as insulting and invasive,” he explains. “I started at the station as a volunteer in 1991 and went on to be the chief operator and to serve on the operations team and eventually the board of directors. In 2006 I became the operations manager and in 2012 the executive director.”
Since becoming executive director, Braden has achieved some significant milestones: “We have increased listenership dramatically since installing a second transmitter in Orleans in 2010. We have also added a lot of new volunteers—fresh voices—thanks to our signal reaching more Cape Codders than ever as a result of the second transmitter.”
What are his plans for the station’s future? “We are currently raising funds to support an equipment upgrade project that would include a generator at our transmitter site in Provincetown,” says Braden. The goal is to replace current broadcast equipment from an outdated analog to a digital/internet-based system. WOMR operates twenty hours a day, seven days a week, and has done for nearly fifteen years on equipment that is aging, subject to failure, difficult to learn, and expensive to repair. So the upgrade is just in time!
When he’s not at WOMR, Braden can be found… elsewhere! “I started to travel in the early 90s,” he explains. “After learning to SCUBA dive, my partner and I spent a lot of time in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. Since then I’ve also traveled to Spain, Morocco, Costa Rica, Scotland, with many trips to England and Puerto Rico. I love traveling to other places and absorbing the colors, the culture, the people. It also feeds my love of photography visiting these beautiful places.” But he doesn’t just find his adventures abroad. “I love to travel the back roads of the Outer Cape on my motorcycle. Last fall I joined a friend on a beautiful foliage trip throughout the mid to upper Cape and onto the Martha’s Vineyard ferry for an overnight stay in Vineyard Haven.”
He loves to discuss what he’s reading and viewing. “When it comes to books, I tend to read nonfiction; lots of politics and some memoirs. When it comes to film, I’m usually a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and drama. I like the series Fargo as much as I liked the original film, and Game of Thrones is a great fantasy series.”
Braden’s favorite quote is one by Claudia Shear: “Everyone has at least one story that would stop your heart.” But we’re not going to reveal his!