First of all, let me take this opportunity to thank each and every person who has made this radio station what it is by putting something into the collective pot. To say that we love you for all you have done is an understatement. When we opened the Locked Box at the beginning of May, hoping that we could avoid an on-air fund drive, we had sort of expected to limp into the formal start of the drive on June 1st. We never saw anything like what you were able to do in such an amazingly short time.
Joe Donahue, Ray Graf, Selma, Sarah and I get an undeserved amount of credit for raising money during the fund drives. But having played cheerleader for so many years, I can tell you that the incredible support we witnessed this drive came without coaxing. People just decided that this was the time to make sure that the station they depend on would continue. I get that. Passions are running high right now.
I am overwhelmed about how many people gave so much in such a short period of time, as well as all the wonderful things that people said about the station. One after another, people wrote about how much they depend on WAMC as a friend and an information source. During this time of great fear, many people feel scared, isolated, and worried. The potential for depression and suicide has many experts in the public health community worried. Being alone and feeling isolated has never been easy for people but now when we have little choice, the situation has become much, much worse. That’s where an eclectic radio station becomes a true friend. When I listen to Ray Graf on Vox Pop, I really do feel that he is not only a professional friend but a personal friend. I hear from so many people who feel the same way. I know that Ray is a skilled radio professional, but he can just as easily drop all that and make it personal between him and you.
Joe Donahue has the same ability. When you hear his happy voice in the morning, you know that he is a person who really understands the exigencies of the moment and even though you might be sitting in a room alone, you have someone there with you who “gets it.” Of course, there are people who believe that the neutral “radio voices” are the “professional” way to do it. I am sure they are convinced of that, but we want you to connect with each of us as you listen.
Just think about how so many people are genuinely disappointed that we didn’t have a June fund drive. Unlike other stations where every word is scripted, you never know what you are going to hear on a WAMC fund drive. During this unprecedented time of pandemic and fear, it is a great relief to know that no matter where you are, you are among good friends. People like Selma Kaplan and the incomparable Ian Pickus really let you know who they are. Same goes for the others on the night crew. By day, Ian is our brilliant young (but tough when he has to be) news director. He works so hard that it gives us all hope about who comes after us.
I don’t have to tell you that there are a very few people who don’t know what to make of us. They write us notes that are, to say the least, troubling, and a few are in a file that might best be kept for a time when they will need to be turned over to the police. But the good news is that they are very few in number. Out of the thousands of notes of love and appreciation, there are those few that just make you feel sorry for their tortured souls. The last one I received was never a member although he complained about our fund raising.
Just know that we love you and we do what we do for you. We are as one.