[JPL] Good news from WEMU
lyohn at emich.edu
Sun Apr 9 11:02:34 EDT 2006
I fell almost sheepish to report good news for WEMU in light of recent
developments at WBEZ and the passing of Jackie McLean, but I will share
with the group anyway.
We concluded our srping fund drive with a $7,000.00 surplus. I know
that does not seem like much for large stations, but for our 16,000
watt service surrounded by behemoth public radio signals, we are
pleased with this news. We were going for $120,000.00 pledged in 9
days and we did it.
It may have seemed like negativity, but what we used the example of
what has happened in other markets with the elimination of daytime
music as a major pitch point. We of course, talked up our integrity
and musical breadth and depth. Listeners understood. They took care
of us for the next 6 months.
I'm so sad about the situation in Chicago. I seriously believe that
local music radio has a place. Yes, I know that there are gifted,
inspired programmers on the satellite services. But, can those
programmers really serve the regional musicians, promoters, educators,
and club-owners? Methinks no. I know that the proposition of "program
ecomomics" says that it is much more economical to re-transmit network
programs. These programs can be quite good. They can inform and
entertain. But, can they really deal with local issues and culture.
Again, methinks no.
I know public radio needs to stay on the air. We try to be as frugal
as we can. We sacrifice. But, abandoning local music programming in
favor "the party line" seems to me, contrary to public radio's mission
to fully serve their local community. I count my lucky stars that I
work for a General Manager who believes in local hosts on the air
ministering to listeners in meaningful ways. When I post to this list,
I want you all to know that is through the deep comunity commitment of
Arthur Timko, WEMU General Manager, that we continue to stay our jazz
and related musics course.
Here are couple of other good news things for WEMU: the readers
of "Current". Ann Arbor's Arts and Entertainment monthly magazine,
voted WEMU as "Best Radio Station". They also voted "The Sunday Best"
with Dr. Arwulf as "Best Radio Program". (Arwulf's show of traditional
jazz presented in a delightfully idiosyncratic manner airs from 10AM to
We are honored by this. But it reflects hard work. We kicked up
feature production in our news department. We added different local
segments in the news magazines. We brightened our music mix. It is
less conservative than it used to be. I'm taking more risks with what
I add. Our late night groove and edge shows are becoming more
I hope WBEZ's changes are not totally etched in stone. It would be a
tragedy not to serve Chicago's huge jazz community with good localized
programming. Perhaps someone else on the list can tell me what other
jazz radio options are in the Windy City.
Everyone, keep swinging and as best you can, keep the faith!
WEMU Music Director
lyohn at emich.edu
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