The 2019 Ocrafolk Final Jam. Gary Mitchell in yellow.

Text and photos by Peter Vankevich

WOVV, Ocracoke’s Village Voice community radio station, has been around for 12 years and Gary Mitchell has been playing music on the island for much longer.

Recently, the two converged on a new show that Mitchell calls “Ocracoke Music Sampler.”

The hour-long show airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. and rebroadcasts at 6 p.m. Thursdays. During it, Mitchell showcases the musical gems he’s culled from his more than 25 years of living, playing, and recording music on the island.

He has owned a home recording studio, Soundside Studio, since the 1990s.

Gary Mitchell at the Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar on School Road.

Although the studio was mostly devoted to recording the group he originally founded with his wife Kitty Mitchell and fiddler Dave Tweedie, Molasses Creek, which produced 13 albums, he also recorded other performers: Noah Paley, Bob and Sky Zentz, Martin Garrish and some old timers like the late Roy Parsons and John Golden.

Sifting through the many CDs, he decided to document the music on Ocracoke.

“I found all kinds of little treasures that we recorded,” he said. “A lot of them I just forgot about.”

One way to promote these musical treasures, he thought, would be to host a radio show.

“Ocracoke Music Sampler” debuted on October 4, Ocracoke’s non-profit community radio station’s latest weekly show on 90.1 FM.

One show was based on the 1998 Ocrafolk music CD, which included songs by Roy Parsons, Jule Garrish, Martin Garrish, Rob Temple, Molasses Creek, Michael and Johnny O’Neal, Pat Garber, Jim Wynn, Kevin Hardy, the Ocracoke Cabaret, Bill and Libby Hicks, David Styron and Sundae Horn.

Many fans of the Ocrafolk Music Festival and the island music scene in general will recognize the artists featured in its shows.

He hopes to interview local artists as part of his show.

Ocracoke Music Sampler has an introduction: “Roy Parsons, this elder, born and raised here, had this famous quote. He was like, “Gary, the music is good,” and that sums up a lot of things there. »

In addition to his musical recordings, Mitchell also produces music videos which can be seen on his Gary Mitchell YouTube channel.

“I’ve always loved making music videos and during the COVID-related lockdowns I’ve done a lot more,” he said.

With much community support and involvement, WOVV officially launched in June 2010 with terrestrial broadcasts (90.1 FM), and online streaming (wovv.org) followed a year later.

Mitchell joins a long list of programs on WOVV, many by Islanders.

Local broadcasters include “Classic Cuts & Such” hosted by John Simpson, “Down Creek Blues” by Tom Cain, “Beats with Beatle” by Beatle Haddad, “The Outdoor Shower Power Hour” by Chad Macek, “Full Throttle” by Matt Tolson, “Just Good Music from the Second Floor of the Old Fire House” by Peter Vankevich, “Island Morning Mix” by John Alexanderson, and “Rockin’ Radio Show” by Tommy Hutcherson and Larry Ihle.

Several off-islands also have shows: “Sound Crossings” by LeAnne Astin, “Gospel Train” by Jim Bakay, “Brewer World Tour” by Dave Brewer, “Ramsey & Reality” by Tor Ramsey, “Beck Black’s Beach Shack” by Beck Black and Uncle Sal’s “You Never Know Radio”.

The daily schedule can be found on the station’s website wovv.org and daily posts are on its Facebook page.

The station also offers scheduled musical themes, such as “Reggae Hour” on Saturday afternoons and classical music from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

With no scheduled programs, the automated jukebox streams a variety of music.

A frequent observation by fans of the station is that the appeal of WOVV is that you never know what the next song will be.

Molasses Creek performs at the 2019 Ocrafolk Festival.
Molasses Creek performs “I’ll Fly Away” at Ocracoke United Methodist Church. Left to right, Fidler Dave Tweedie, Gary Mitchell and Kitty Mitchell.