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Help keep independent radio alive.

WFHB (98.1 and 91.3) is a community radio station in Bloomington, IN.

 I encourage you to check out the station, either via iTunes public radio or streaming audio at the station web site. I volunteer at WFHB, along with approximately 100 (give or take) other people, and this week we're having a fund drive to raise money for operating expenses.

Although the station is small, independent, and community-based, from emails the station has received, apparently listeners include people in Thailand and Sweden and even that exotic land called Wisconsin...

For those of you unfamiliar with Bloomington, it is a small town with big ideas. It's the home of IU, and because of this, people from more than thirty different countries live and work together. It's one of the few blue areas of the state, and therefore the city has been "targeted" by conservatives (they were able to unseat Baron Hill [D-IN] in the House of Representatives this a mere 1500 votes.)

WFHB has only three paid employees. Volunteers range from retirees who play Perry Como to high school students who do an entire Saturday segment called "Youth Radio."

WFHB's programming is called "free-form radio."  That means no required playlist based upon commercial rather than artistic interest. That means you might hear Gus Viseur and The Duhks and Roosevelt Sykes and Leonard Cohen and Keran Ann and Neko Case and Elvis Costello during one program.

Obviously the programming is diverse. Featured music (depending on the show, or sometimes not) includes delta and Chicago blues, new and classic jazz, world, hip-hop, alternative rock, alternative country, Latin, reggae, rockabilly, Americana, bluegrass, experimental, gospel, Native American, classical, archival spoken radio comedies, and probably other categories I've forgotten to mention.

WFHB depends entirely on listener support and is not affiliated with "University" public radio, NPR, ...the sort of public radio that has to answer to large corporate sponsors (and still ask you for money.)

Along with BBC World News Service every weekday morning, the station also offers Euroquest, from Amsterdam, Alternative Radio, featuring people like Howard Zinn, Free Speech Radio News, and is currently testing a Friday edition of Democracy Now!

These programs aren't free. But this station is one of the few ways people in the area (not to mention people tuning in online) have to hear a variety of news sources as media consolidation continues.

In addition to national and international feeds, the station has locally written and produced Daily Local News, a weekly GBLT program, a weekly Spanish-language local and international news program, and a weekly public affairs program that was one of the first in the country to interview Carl Rising-Moore, a man who started an underground railroad for suicidal soldiers.

So, obviously I'm telling you all this because I'd like to invite you to subscribe and become a listener.

(And I'd like to see the expression on the Station Manager's face when he gets new memberships from Kossacks and wonders where they all came from.) And also, I'm telling you this because the sooner we reach our financial goal, the sooner we can stop asking people to support independent community radio.

Here are the membership levels and the premiums that come with them:

At the $35 new member pledge level, new members receive one CD and a year subscription to Utne magazine.

At the $60 pledge level, new or renewing members receive one CD and a year subscription to Utne magazine.

At the $120 pledge level, new or renewing members receive three CDs and either a year subscription to Utne OR a 6 month subscription to Paste* music magazine.

At the $365 pledge level, new or renewing members receive the most popular CD from the playlists of WFHB each month and either a year subscription to Utne or a 6 month subscription to Paste music magazine.

*Paste includes a cd sampler every month with music ranging from Bright Eyes to Spottiswoode and His Enemies to Vic Chestnut to Lucinda Williams to The Waifs to Lou Barlow to The Blind Boys of Alabama (with Tom Waits) to the Preservation Hall Hot 4 with Duke other words, a lot like the programming at WFHB.  

I wasn't sure if it would be okay to post a diary about the local community radio station's fundraiser, but I saw another Kossack wrote about his recently published book. I do not benefit financially in any way, but I do benefit so much by having the opportunity to make my community (and the community of listeners around the world) a more diverse and interesting place by helping to offer a variety of music and points of view.

I think you could benefit, too.

Originally posted to fauxreal on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 07:50 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So, I see I wrote a thrilling diary... (4.00)
    I'm better at ranting in comments, I suppose.

    Anybody out there?

    Beuhler? Beuhler?


  •  What Do I Get at the $125,000 Pledge Level? (none)
    Just kidding, but it seems like that's about what I give to community radio every year, as we here in the Bay Area are blesse by more than a dozen good independent stations. It's totally cool to pimp your station, and you can expect folks like me to check out their stream, especially since they do iTunes, which is superior and shows good taste.

    We the undersigned urge you to support Federal funding for research using human pluripotent stem cells. -80 Nobel Laureates to Pres. Bush

    by easong on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 08:13:23 PM PST

    •  yeah, in blueland, you guys have Pacifica, too. (none)
      I hope you do check it out. I think the schedule is also on site (the site was recently revamped by an volunteer. The station really is volunteer powered)

      Obviously not every program is for everyone, and with all the programming available where you are, the national/international programs are surely already in your area.

      I was also thrilled to find out the station was on iTunes...once I had iTunes.

      And at the 125k pledge level, you'd get a lot of people who really like you...

  •  Please give my best to (none)
    Rich Fish and the other Lodestone folks in and around Bloomington.  It was a long, tough slog to get that station on the air and Rich never wavered during all those many years prior to that magic day when the construction permit finally arrived from the FCC.

    Congrats on making and keeping community radio alive and well in breakingaway country! Are you still in the firehouse?  Pics!  We need pics!

    •  Hey! You probably know more about WFHB than me (none)
      But, yes, from what I hear, they went through an incredible struggle to get the station approved...not to mention funded.

      If you go  to the homepage above, you'll see a pic in front of the firehouse...and, yeah, the station is still there.

      When was the last time you were in this area? Are you a former volunteer?

      •  ex radio head (none)
        In an ex-life I was pretty involved in community radio at a national level after having helped build one in my local town in the mid 70's.

        I first met Rich and some of the other Lodestone people at a Midwest Radio Theatre Conference in 1979.  I think when he came to our station for that first (of 25) conference he got bitten by the "hey we can have a station like this back in Bloomington" bug.  So he went home and got a group together and incorporated (I think it's Bloomington Community Radio?) in order to get a CP and build a station.

        But by then all the frequencies had been taken and the BCR people had to struggle to survive the long wait, the protracted and expensive legal battles, and the inevitable in fighting that occurs when one's dreams are delayed.  It's a tribute to all of them, and to the community that the station exists today.

        I wasn't directly involved at all, but from what I gather by the time the station finally went on the air there was some bad blood between the founders and the people managing things at that time.  I don't know to what extent any of the original people are involved today, but I do know that Rich is still in the area.  He was running his recording and distribution business.  In fact, Lodestone is one of the nation's most significant distributors of radio drama today, including all of the old Firesign Theatre catalog. Not sure what his status is with that company today. Google turns up an interesting TV production project called Rox.

        But he's listed.  Give him a call and say thanks for helping to make your radio station a reality.

        •  He still works at the station (none)
          He does a Sunday night program of..ta dah...Firesign Theatre shows.

          He's also the eminence grise at the station, and everyone who works there has a portion of her/his training with Rich, including some stories about the "old days."

          When you go to work at the station, you watch a video in the volunteer meeting that goes into some of the history of the founding of the station.

          If the former president of IU hadn't stepped in to help out via his clout and cash, apparently the station would still be a hope and not a reality.

          I don't know if you'll see this, since this diary is now in oblivionland, but wanted to let you know that Rich is still around.

  •  I love community radio (none)
    I volunteer a couple hours each Friday night at KPSU (sorry, no streams at this point - we're very low budget), and spin the only jazz (with occasional forrays into hip-hop, electronic, and African musics as the spirit moves me) on the Oklahoma panhandle airwaves. It's gratifying work, to be sure. Best of luck with your fund drive!
    •  thanks (none)
      and you have a tie to the area too, since you're a bokononist...

      The two most interesting people I know of from this state (I'm not from here originally) are Kurt Vonnegut and Eugene Debs.

      Thanks for the link(s) to your site and beyond.

      And congrats and luck to you as you do your part to expand the available music on the dial.

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