Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WTJU and the lost benefit

I just finished another fund-raising program for WTJU, (the station I volunteer for) and raised a decent, if not great, amount of money.

For those not familiar with the station, we do things a little differently. Unlike other non-commerical radio station that simply fund raise around their programming, WTJU segments its fund drives (something I’ve written about before). The staff of each of the four musical genres represented at the station (folk, rock, classical, jazz) take over programming for a week. So this past week the Rock Department was in charge, and it was a week filled with special rock shows.

As always, several announcers from other genres helped out (just as some of the rock DJs help out with the jazz, folk, or classical marathons). In this particular case, I was hosting a program entitled “Swinging London, 64-66.” It was aired in my normal Wednesday 6-9am time slot, in place of my classical music show.

 The program was outstanding – and it’s a shame almost no one heard it. Helping me out was Paula O'Buckley, the host of the Thursday morning classical program Classical Cafe, and Steve Myers, the host of the Friday classical music program Classical Comfort. We all were very familiar with the music we were playing (see tomorrow’s post for show details) – we don't just listen to classical music.

We were having a great time – there was real chemistry in the studio. And Steven, remarkably, lived the UK music scene. He told stories about being taken to hear the Beatles in 1964 for his 11th birthday. At 15, he was an engineer at Radio Caroline, a pirate radio station operating off the coast of Britain in the North Sea. He wore Carnaby Street fashion, and had stories for just about every artist we played.

It was great radio – for the few who heard it.

Because, of course, WTJU normally airs classical music from 6-9am. Our regular audiences are used to hearing me on Wednesdays, Paula on Thursdays, and Steven on Fridays presenting and discussing classical music. I’m sure most of them simply tuned out this week. And who replaced them? Our rock audience is used to late-night programming? I’m not sure most of them would be tuning in that early –especially just for one week.

In the right time slot, broadcasting to the right audience, this show should have raised several thousand dollars. It didn’t. It wasn’t a case of casting pearls before swine – we were casting pearls into a vacant lot.

This program will remain one of my favorite radio experiences. I’m just sorry it wasn’t one that was shared.

(If you want to hear the program, it’s available through 2/29/12 at the WTJU show vault.)

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