[JPL] Big, big thanks to all of you for your ideas!

Linda Yohn lyohn at emich.edu
Thu Apr 28 17:17:44 EDT 2011

Dear friends,

I get the JPL in digest form so I haven't been able to answer each post.  However, I appreciate all of your input both on and off list.

As you all see by the lists I send out, I think we are doing some things right to attract new listeners.  Perhaps we have to do MORE of those right things, but I don't want to lose our current strong base of listeners.  

We are aggressive with Facebook.  We appear at libraries, classes, functions, concerts and festivals to attract new listeners.  We have great give-away trades with promoters for ticket give-aways and more.  

We had significant audience growth as reflected in the fall 2010 book.  We had our most successful fundraiser ever this past March.  We went $17,000 over goal.  The bulk of the success goes to strong fund raising during "Morning Edition", but music shows showed increase as well.

This was good news for WEMU given Michigan's current economic situation.  Michigan's governor recently announced that there is to be a fifteen percent cut across the board for all higher education in Michigan.  EMU have regents proposed eliminating University funding for WEMU.  We have been able to convince them otherwise for at least this fiscal year.  We will cut back in some areas and step up our major gift initiatives.  

That brings me to programming.  We would like to get more listeners who are 30 and 40 years old in to our fold.  We do real well with 45+, but it would be great to get 35+ on board with us.  Actually, we do fairly well with students who dig the grooves that they hear on WEMU.  They, however, will not be in the contributor category for ten years or so.   As Jay so astutely pointed out, it is about The BEAT!  

I just finished listening to a great new "groove" disc "Good Eats" by Mark Rapp's Melting Pot.  Expect that one to show up at the top of our list real soon. 

We dropped Bob Parlocha some time ago.  Because the program is aired on WRCJ in Detroit as well, it made no sense to repeat the programming.  After 10 or 11PM we air the syndicated program "Undercurrents" with host Greg McViccar.  It is AAA/alternative/Americana/world music/Native American music mix.  We have seen audience growth because of that program change.  It isn't my personal cup of tea, but we're not programming for me.   

I have two new hires in their late 20s who love jazz music.  I have proposed to the PD that we get these two guys up to speed more with their announcing technique and get them on the air more often.  He's mulling that suggestion over.  

I'm trying hard to keep myself less pedantic, brief, succinct, relevant, intelligent and conversational.  I plan to work a voice coach this summer.  I'm working with other hosts to go with a similar approach but it is hard to teach an announcer who grew up in the "theater of the mind" and "story-telling" era to learn new tricks.  But I do know that the professional, prepared and succinct announcer makes a huge difference. 

We are going to undertake a billboard campaign, develop a street team for summer events, expand our community participation, kick up our twitter stream, streamline our website and more.

I am committed to doing this project right!  I want to keep WEMU in the black and in a growth mode for years to come.  I will compile all of your responses and take your advice seriously.  I'll be at the JazzWeek summit to listen and learn.


Linda Yohn
WEMU Music Director
lyohn at emich.edu

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