We are proud to raise funds for WHIVFM this month! We took some time with the founders and faithful RS regulars, MarkAlain Dery and Liana Elliott. They are interviewed by our fearless leader, Reyn Lambert.
RL: How did you come into WHIV?
MA: I was sitting on a rickshaw in Phnom Penh, Cambodia when I heard the news that the FCC would open the New Orleans FM radio dial for some new radio stations.
The idea hit me instantly to start a radio station dedicated to human rights and social justice, and 102.3 WHIV-LP was born. I named the station WHIV, for several reasons. Admittedly, as an HIV physician, it was easy for me to come up with the station name in an effort to help decrease the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS, but my rational for the name is more nuanced. I named the station WHIV because HIV, like all infectious diseases are diseases of the poor; and when we are talking about poverty, we are talking about human rights and social justice. The letters “H”, “I”, and “V” actually are an acronym for all things human rights and social justice. 102.3 WHIV is not a station-with-a-mission, but a mission-with-a-radio-station.
Liana: MarkAlain walked in the door one day and said “I’m going to start a radio station.” I rolled my eyes and said “OK.” When the engineering schematics started appearing I knew he was really serious
RL: How did you first find Reyn Studios?
MA: Before there was Reyn studios, my band was renting out the large parking garage of the building, at nights as rehearsal space… after a few months of Reyn Studios being in place, the music and volume complaints started to collate, and it soon became clear that Yoga Nidra and rockabilly-music did not crystalize together very well. My band had to find a new location for rehearsals but, I never did forget about the yoga studio. When the time was right, my wife and I decided to take up yoga together and there was no place that we wanted to go to… the place that complained about my rockabilly band.
Liana: We were both really stressed out right before our wedding (12/31/15) and we were looking for ways to recharge our minds/bodies and relationship. The studio is right around the corner from where we live, and we love the vibe and have been taking classes ever since. We even did a class on our wedding day – it was packed, we put out our mats next to the front door.
RL: What WHIV & Reyn Studios have in common?
MA: This one is easy… Reyn Studios has a prominent presence on 102.3 WHIV-LP; with Reyn (and her rain stick) guiding listeners to Yoga Nidra at 4:00PM on Tuesdays. Don’t be surprised if you tune in and there is some space on air (i.e., ‘dead air’), thats just Reyn asking everyone to take a deep breath in and out There has been more that once that I run into the control booth to see why there is nothing on-air and there is Reyn sitting cross-legged in front of the broadcast board, eyes closed, in the middle of some deep breathing… then I sigh a deep breath of relief, there is nothing wrong with the station, its just Reyn breathing.
Liana: being a space for the community, creating a good vibe and a venue for all sorts of people and interests.
RL: Favorite Ice Cream?
MA: Ice cream; can’t do it… lactose intolerant. I do like frozen yogurt and I really like sour or tart flavors… mostly, I think that I just like whatever flavor my wife is eating.
Liana: I’m partial to cookie dough and mint chip. MarkAlain will say that he doesn’t like ice cream, but his favorite flavor is whatever I’m eating.
RL:What is your favorite thing about New Orleans?
MA: The best thing about New Orleans is the ability to be yourself. I am very proud of this City, very proud that we are extremely tolerant of all kinds of people and treat all as equals. I especially love that this City can mobilize thousands of people into a protest march within 24 hours, and have that protest march also serve as a; 1) Parade. 2) Social event. 3) Political event. 4) Party. This is also a great City to ride my skateboard around… around the potholes that is.
Liana: that you can be, or do, pretty much anything you want.
To donate: Please show your support at our 4PM, Saturday, By Donation, RSOM classes. They are lead by one of the strongest voices in New Orleans in social justice and human rights, Ms. Jacksun Slaughter.