[JPL] 'Campus FM station keeping it Œ smart ¹

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 30 09:23:41 EDT 2007


http://www.murfreesboropost.com/news.php?viewStory=7271

Every week more than 36,000 Middle Tennesseans have their FM radio dial
tuned to WMOT 89.5.

The station, based on the MTSU campus, is one of only a few full-time jazz
radio stations left in the region, said Keith Palmer, director of
development at WMOT.

³These types of stations are few and far between,² he said.

Listeners constantly thank the station for keeping ³smart music² on the
radio, Palmer said. WMOT is a National Public Radio member station.

³Our audience over the past five years has continued to grow,² Palmer said.
³We would like them to grow faster.²

WMOT is a modern, mainstream jazz station playing music from Charlie Parker
and Dizzy Gillespie in the 1940s and ¹50s to Diana Krall and Kevin Mahogany
from the present. 

The jazz station is a division of the MTSU College of Mass Communications
and broadcasts its signal from the Learning Resource Center on campus. MTSU
is also licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to operate the
student-run station WMTS-FM 88.3.

Listenership has increased as WMOT has expanded its coverage area in recent
years to include most of Davidson and its surrounding counties. Recent
equipment updates have given the broadcaster high definition capability,
which if monies were available would allow WMOT to add a second station.

Anyone around the world can listen to WMOT on the Web at www.wmot.org.

WMOT¹s annual fall on-air fundraising drive ended Oct. 18 short of its
$50,000 goal.

Bi-annual fundraising has become a necessity for the station to operate as
federal grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are becoming
harder to obtain. Money raised goes directly towards operational and
programming costs.

MTSU, as an entity of the state of Tennessee, pays WMOT¹s eight full-time
employees¹ salaries and benefits and a modest operating budget, Palmer said.

WMOT General Manager John Egly said funding is always in question.

³MTSU has been a good partner,² he said. ³We have always been able to meet
our budget needs.²

WMOT¹s mission melds with that of the MTSU as a whole, which is to educate
and seek community partnerships.

³(The station) is such a great resource to educate and to provide the
community with what is a truly unique American art form,² Palmer said.


The Music

Greg Lee, program director and host of The Morning Beat, listens to every CD
that comes into the station, ³We are just inundated with music now,² he
said, ³and there are only so many hours in a day ‹ a year.²

Lee estimates he receives about 50 CDs in the mail a week from local and
national artists. 

³If you are a jazz fan, it is a good place to be,² he said of the station he
has worked at since the early 1980s.

WMOT¹s catalog of music contains more than 6,000 songs.

Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. programming is locally
produced but broadcast on a live-tape delay meaning most shows are taped
ahead of time.

Throughout the day, WMOT features live local news, weather and traffic
produced by its news department. The station also broadcasts news from the
Associated Press.

Overnight the syndicated jazz program "Jazz with Bob Parlocha" is broadcast.

³He is very knowledgeable about this music,² Palmer said.

Sunday's playlist is filled with a variety of local and NPR programming.

Community Outreach and Education

WMOT reaches out to the community by playing public service announcements
for area nonprofits through out the day. The station¹s Web site allows
nonprofit organizations to self-post their events.
The jazz station also partners with and promotes area jazz festivals such as
the annual Main Street Jazz Festival on the Murfreesboro Public Square.

WMOT first signed on April 9, 1969 from the MTSU Boutwell Dramatic Arts
Building with 780 watts on a 100-foot tower primarily as a way to teach
students about radio.

³To this day we have paid student workers both on and off the air,² Palmer
said. ³They get really good experience.²

At any given time, WMOT has 15 to 20 paid student workers.

WMOT changed from a block programming station to an all jazz and news
station in 1982.

John L. High, the general manager at the time, did community research and
discovered there was a void in jazz radio in Middle Tennessee. The station
wanted to build an audience by going to one format.

Jazz music is culturally diverse and WMOT offers national programming
through the night and on Sundays, Palmer said.

³That is the best part of this music is that it does cross a lot of lines,
he said, adding that he became a fan of jazz music while working at the
station as a student in the late 1980s. ³That is why we like it.²

WMOT Jazz listeners are more educated, travel more and have a higher income
than the average radio listener.

Listeners are more likely men than women, according to NPR Jazz audience
profile 2006, and most listeners are over the age of 25.

Some 50 percent have a college degree, 68 percent have a household income
over $50,000 a year and 67 percent travel domestically.

³Our listeners are extremely loyal,² Palmer said. ³Our donors are extremely
loyal. Many have been giving to the station for 10 years or more.²

WMOT was nominated for the Gavin Report ³Jazz Station of the Year² in 1988
and ¹99. Details Magazine named WMOT ³Middle Tennessee¹s Best Radio Station²
in 1991. 


Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at
eedgemon at murfreesboropost.com.

On the Web:
www.wmot.org
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