Friday, October 24, 2008

WTJU and the Marathon Unmuddled

I had a fantastic fund raising program this morning on WTJU, and I'd like to thank everyone who called in with a pledge.

Of course, what I expected happened did happen. The phones rang fairly often from 6:00 AM to about 9:00 AM. My show, "Overtures," ran until 10:00, but it didn't matter. At 9:00 the phones stopped ringing and I didn't get another pledge.


Well, look at the regular schedule for the station. At 9:00 AM jazz programming starts. The folks who only listen to classical are used tuning us out at 9:00 and either switching over to WVTF (which has finished with Morning Edition and starts its classical programming), or have arrived at work and won't listen to the radio again until the evening drive home.

And since this is the first day of the fund drive, people who tuned in all week long at 9:00 AM expecting to hear jazz got a nasty shock this morning. My guess is most of them turned us off almost immediately, never hearing the fund raising message at all.

As I've noted before, when it comes to radio, people are creatures of habit. We mess with the daily routine at our own peril. At 9:00 AM the classical audience went away, and the jazz audience stayed away. And as much as our volunteer staff wishes it be otherwise, our listeners use radio the same way listeners of other stations do.

Care to guess what happens tomorrow when listeners tune in at 4:00 PM, expecting to hear "Jumpin' On the Bed," high-energy American music instead get Hindemith and Persichetti wind ensemble music?

- Ralph

Day 129 of the WJMA Web Watch.

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