Dale Robin Goodman says she’ll do whatever she can to protect people’s rights to free speech.

Over the last decade, she’s worked toward that end by helping to organize record sales and fashion shows, making a lot of phone calls and putting together radio beg-a-thons. As development director for Portland community radio station WMPG, Goodman is a crucial part of all the various ways the small FM station raises its approximately $300,000 budget each year.

To her it’s not just about keeping the station on the air. She sees her job as a mission, a mission to guarantee people’s rights to the airwaves, at a time when most of the airwaves are controlled by corporate interests.

“I really see community radio as the last place in the broadcast world where there is a real mechanism for free speech,” says Goodman, 62, of South Portland. “I think it’s so important today to still have a platform to reach people with different languages, voices and ideas.”

WMPG, on the campus of the University of Southern Maine in Portland, has a few paid employees and an army of volunteers. Volunteer deejays play every kind of music from rockabilly to Jewish music to gospel, and put on community news and events programming.

Goodman had always been drawn to radio, growing up in Brooklyn, New York, volunteering at radio stations as a teen and in college. As a youngster, she’d stay up late at night to hear the offbeat sounds coming from New York radio stations.

She moved to Maine about 30 years ago, and has two grown children. When the job at WMPG became available 10 years ago, Goodman left a job she loved, as administrator of an early-childhood program in York County.

“That was the job I always loved doing, but I knew this was the job I was about to love,” she said of WMPG.

Goodman is also a performing musician, playing banjo and guitar, so she said just being in the WMPG studio with its vast collection of eclectic music makes “my heart beat faster.”

Besides organizing fundraising events, Goodman attends countless public functions, trying to raise awareness of what WMPG does and what opportunities it presents to the average person. Goodman thinks it’s a little ironic that she’s the development director, since she describes herself as “not a money person.” But in her job it’s not so much about managing money as it is asking for it.

“I have no trouble asking for money to support this place, because I think community radio is so valuable,” she said.

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