'Creative City': New WMNB-LP show will focus on arts business community


NORTH ADAMS — Julia Dixon wants to bridge the gap between city residents and artists who have relocated in the area, drawn to the burgeoning creative economy.

In the hourlong weekly radio show on WMNB-LP, Dixon hopes to explore the "creative landscape" of North Adams and feature people who use "creativity to express themselves, strengthen economies, make connections, and improve their communities."

Dubbed "Creative City," Dixon's show will be the first locally produced talk show to air regularly on WMNB-LP, a new low-power radio station operated through Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp. that went live in February.

"When I heard that there was a new station, I sort of pitched this idea of a weekly program that talks about creativity in North Adams and [the surrounding area]," said Dixon, a creative economy specialist at 1Berkshire.

Through her position at 1Berkshire, Dixon said she meets creative entrepreneurs who need exposure and resources.

"I thought this is a great way to connect the residents of North Adams to all of the creative businesses and people they might otherwise not have access to," Dixon said.

The first show, which will air at 9 a.m. July 18, will feature guests from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's Bang on a Can summer music festival and Suzy Helme, the city's director of community events.

The Northern Berkshires' existing cultural assets, such as Mass MoCA and the Clark Art Institute, are complemented by new investments such as the renovations to the Greylock Mill, Dixon said.

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"All of this cultural investment is just making more and more people want to move here," she said.

The Greylock Mill, formerly known as the Cariddi Mill, has been purchased by a developer who plans to renovate the complex into a multiuse facility that includes event, food production, and hotel and condominium space.

Organizations like the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, and the city through its community events office are already working to engage the community in its own cultural renaissance.

"This is my own personal way of doing that," she said.

The show fits the mold of what the station is all about, according to Mike Putnam, WMNB general manager and president of the board of NBCTC. As a frequent volunteer as Mass MoCA, Putnam said he often doesn't see local people there.

"I want more than just music — I'm playing the music," Putnam said of the station. "I want people to come in and do something for the community."

The station is still interested in hearing pitches for potential shows, and Putnam said he was impressed with Dixon's concrete proposal.

"We're not looking for people to just come in and sit and spin a couple of records," he said. "It's important that the people get informed here."

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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