Robin Hood Radio, which proudly calls itself "The Smallest NPR Station in the Nation," is based in Sharon, Connecticut, a rural community of about 3,000 people in the northwest part of the state. On January 25, Adam Kiryk, Andric LibreSinn, and Benjamin Wilson from Digital Services drove to their office — a converted residence on Main Street — to learn how they run the station.
Founded in 2008 by Marshall Miles and Jill Goodman, Robin Hood Radio has a friendly, quirky feel — for example, it's home to two station cats named FM and AM — yet the staff is extremely serious about serving their community. In addition to airing NPR programming such as All Things Considered and Morning Edition, Miles and Goodman give hours of their time — literally: they work for the station as unpaid volunteers — to create content for their audience.
For example, despite the small staff, they are committed to creating their own local stories and music to insert between segments of All Things Considered and Morning Edition. They air a variety of locally-produced shows — and they have a long history making their programming available online.
According to Miles, the station had a website before it had a radio signal, and on-demand listening continues to be the biggest part of their digital presence. He says they have between 13,000 and 18,000 podcast downloads a week from their on-demand page.
Where does the name Robin Hood Radio come from? Miles and Goodman are passionate about delivering a "counter-cultural" experience to their community — something completely distinct from corporate fare — and the story of Robin Hood seemed to represent that idea well. But don't think they have a narrow view of what "counter-cultural" means. One of their locally-produced programs, Hometown Sunday Morning, is a conservative, call-in talk-show, hosted by a guy called "NASCAR Dave." You can find and listen to the latest episode here.