After Mike and Linda Starling bought a weekend home on Hoopers Island, they were captivated by Dorchester’s natural beauty, history and waterfront lifestyle. It didn’t take them long to pull up anchor and set a course for Cambridge where the former NPR executive and educator started encore careers. Mike founded and runs WHCP Community Radio and Linda creates wearable art, helps direct the Main Street Gallery and recruits volunteers for Horn Point Laboratory.
DC-Area Executive and Educator Build Encore Careers in Cambridge
The Starlings discovered Cambridge when Mike was scouting the shore for a weekend get-away. Looking to escape ‘DC craziness,’ they rented a fishing cottage on Hoopers Island in 2002. Surreptitiously, the day they rented it; the owners listed it for sale. After promising Linda he’d add a second bathroom, Mike made the owner an offer and soon had his Eastern Shore retreat. From their base in Olney Maryland, they spent every other weekend in Dorchester and began to think about retiring here.
They fell in love with Cambridge’s historic district and waterfront and bought a full-time home in the West End in 2007. After settling in, Linda started volunteering with Horns Point Lab. Mike commuted to DC where he worked as NPR’s Chief Technology Officer until retiring in 2013.
Educator, Amateur Scientist and Artist
Before settling in Dorchester, Linda was an elementary school special education resource specialist in California, Maryland and Virginia. Always fascinated by marine science, Linda volunteered at the Horn Point Lab (HPL) where she tested water samples from the Choptank River for the HPL Oyster Hatchery. She met Diane Stoecker, a world-renowned algae specialist and artist.
Inspired by the beautiful sea glass she found on Hoopers Island; she changed her medium from beadwork to glass.
“I like the mystery of sea glass. Where did it come from? How old is it? There is a story behind every fragment that makes every piece of jewelry completely original.”
The self-trained artist credits her friend Deborah Haynes with encouraging her to join an artist group and show her work. An active member of Cambridge’s arts community, Linda joined Main Street Gallery in 2011 where she served as director of the co-op in 2012 through 2016.
In 2010, when HPL’s volunteer coordinator resigned, Linda was tapped for the position. Now in her ninth year, she coordinates the volunteer program, arranges for tours and outreach events, oversees pavilion rentals, and helps with special events.
A Great Place to Be!
As a lifelong radio broadcast engineer and radio executive, Mike’s encore career was rooted in his passion and expertise in community radio.
He knew the FCC was opening frequencies for new low power local FM stations and thought it would be a great opportunity for Cambridge. He helped form a founding board and prepared the license application. Just three months later, the frequency was granted and WHCP was born.
“My goal in founding WHCP was to help Cambridge prosper by building a vibrant community radio station to share the great work of local nonprofits, musicians and businesses,” Mike explains. “Our motto – A great place to be! – joyously celebrates Cambridge’s authenticity, talent, creativity, and unpretentiousness.”
Less than two years after launching WHCP, the station moved two blocks into a state-of-the-art radio facility that’s also home to the Groove City Studio performance space. Mike credits the community’s outpouring of financial support and enthusiasm for building the Cambridge Community Media Center.
Water Moves Us
Inspired by the opportunity to make a difference and forge great friendships in their adopted home, Mike and Linda enjoy being a part of Cambridge’s vibrant scene: Walking to dinner, taking in glorious sunsets and short commutes.
Linda counts the affordability, unbeatable water access and community engagement as significant draws.
For people looking to buy a second home or relocate to Dorchester, Mike offers this advice: “Get in before the word is out and prices skyrocket! You can’t invest or settle in a better community. We’ve lived in many great places across the country, but Cambridge grabbed our heart and soul.”
‘It’s a great place to be’ may be WHCP’s motto – but it perfectly punctuates Mike and Linda Starling’s philosophy on living and working in Dorchester County.