Watch a segment of The Batchelor Pad on WCOM Radio

Each Monday night from 6 to 8 PM Eastern, L.A. Batchelor hosts the outstanding sports and politics talk show The Batchelor Pad on community radio station WCOM.

This half-hour video provides a sample of the excellent, engaging, and informative programs L.A. delivers each week.

WCOM-FM 103.5 Receives 50 Forward Award from Coastal Credit Union

CARRBORO, NC: The Public Gallery of Carrboro, which operates WCOM-LP 103.5 all-volunteer community radio, received one of five $5000 50 Forward awards from Coastal Credit Union in a ceremony at its Raleigh headquarters on November 14, according to Public Gallery of Carrboro chairperson Art Menius. 50 Forward enabled participants to nominate a deserving nonprofit to win a $5,000 donation. Entrants are asked to identify a nonprofit within the 16 counties where Coastal does business, briefly describe why the nonprofit is deserving of a donation, and explain what it does that is meaningful to the person nominating it.

1500 people nominated 463 non-profit agencies, according to Menius. Five were selected to receive the $5000 awards. The other 50 Forward recipients were Raleigh Rescue Mission, Chapel Hill High School Philharmonic Foundation, Beginnings, and First NC Robotics.

The video which Coastal Credit Union produced about WCOM can be viewed at https://youtu.be/yde6gind5s0.

“We’ve spent the past 50 days looking back on the impact we’ve made in the lives of our members and community over the past five decades,” said Coastal’s spokesman, Joe Mecca. “50 Forward is the kickoff to our next 50 years of serving the community, and lets our members pay it forward to the organizations they see doing great work.

One of the first stations to go on air under the FCC’s Low Power program, WCOM went on air on September 29, 2004. The station, which rents studio space from The ArtsCenter in downtown Carrboro, reaches listeners around the globe through its Internet stream on www.wcomfm.org. It depends on donations, grants, events, and underwriting for its income.

WCOM provides a radio home for dozens of volunteer hosts creating original programming including outstanding talk and current affairs shows and music programs spanning many genres with especial strengths in roots, jazz, and blues. Guests on WCOM over the years have proven as diverse as Congressman David Price, blues star Shemekia Copeland, then State Senator Ellie Kinnaird, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Chris Hillman, the late Elizabeth Edwards, and mentalist The Amazing Kreskin. WCOM has trained and given a first broadcast opportunity to countless area residents.

According to its website, “Our mission at WCOM is to educate, inspire, and entertain the diverse populations of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and nearby areas. We cultivate local music and facilitate the exchange of cultural and intellectual ideas, with particular regard for those who are overlooked or under-represented by other media outlets. We provide a space for media access and education by providing equipment and training to our community.”

WCOM at Primetime Business Expo

WCOM promoted itself and underwriting opportunities at the Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s Primetime Business Expo at the Friday Center on Thursday, November 11. The chamber generously gave WCOM a booth at Orange County’s largest such event, putting us in the same venue as WCHL, WQDR, Wells Fargo, Camerons, the Chapel Hill Sheraton Hotel, and several dozen other area businesses.

Donald “DJ Smooth Jazz” Brumfield, WCOM’s engineer, staffs our booth at the Primetime Business Expo.

WCOM hosts Ernie Hood, Don Emmett, Becky Johnson, Donald Brumfield, Bill Hendrickson, Art Menius, and Dave Bellin took turns representing the station both at our booth and visiting those of other businesses.

Dubose elected at Annual Meeting

The members of the Public Gallery of Carrboro (dba WCOM Community Radio) held its 2016 Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 22 in the ArtsCenter. The membership by acclamation elected Eliza Dubose to a three year term on the board of directors starting on January 1, 2017.

Donald Brumfield presented the engineering report, Bill Henderickson for the Development Committee, and Karl Blake for the Programming Committee. The latter has been very active lately adding new local and syndicated shows and developing a system for rebroadcasting local programs. Art Menius offered the financial report indicating that the board has ended the unfortunate run of $2000 annual losses that began with the $5400 per year increase in studio space rental.

Menius gave the chair’s state of the station report. He listed numerous accomplishments of the past nine plus months including enhanced budgeting and cash flow projections, stronger committees, new bylaws and observing them, more fundraising and grants, adoption of and monitoring a long range plan, bringing the station into compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 with the outstanding support of music hosts entering data into Spinitron, and 100% underwriting compliance. He also listed challenges before us including increasing involvement in the local community, strengthening the community of WCOM members, getting more people involved in the tasks that keep the station on the air, and building a financial reserve.

June 2016 Board Highlights

The WCOM community owes a big debt of gratitude to Donald “DJ Smooth Jazz” Brumfield who not only agreed to take on the vacant chair job with the Engineering Committee but to serve on the board of directors effective immediately. Donald reported on the late May meeting of the Engineering Committee. Jim Dennis of the Music Loft is our man for equipment issues. Bill McClymont, now an advisor to the committee as is Tofu Dave, is training Donald on Simian so that Donald can become the go-to person for Simian.

 

The Development Committee has planned a great WCOM member party for Monday, June 20. All WCOM members (show hosts, volunteers, and donors) should have received an email invitation two weeks ago. If you did not, please email me at art@artmenius.com. If you did, please rsvp. There is no admission fee! Vimala’s is donating the food and dessert; WCOM non-alcoholic beverages; music by mandolin great Tony Williamson.

At the party, we expect to have new WCOM T-SHIRTS available as a premium for $15 or more donations to your station. Thanks to Don and Donald for making this happen.

The Board Development Committee which will recruit board candidates for the October election will be Don Emmett, Tana Hartman, Marc Lee, and Ben Alschuler. You can send me nominations of others or yourself at the email above. I’ll forward them to the committee. We now have five functioning committees as compared to one in 2015. If you are interested in committee service, just email me.

The Program Committee reported that during the next two months two completely new shows and one returning after a couple of years will be joining our lineup. We are saying goodbye, however, to Sidelinz Sports and its host TC Rogers after four years. The final Sidelinz aired on June 8.

Rather than a regular monthly meeting in July, your board will hold a long range planning session on the 9th. The next regular board meeting will be August 10.

 

 

The Batchelor Pad with LA Batchelor

 

One of WCOM’s newest shows is The Batchelor Pad Show with LA Batchelor. The program joined the WCOM family in October 2015 and airs Mondays from 6 to 8 pm Eastern. It can also be heard on 900/1250 ESPN radio in New Hampshire (espnnhradio.com), WHBO in Tampa, Florida (Sports Talk 1450) and online at blogtalkradio.com. The program talks about the issues of the day from sports and politics to race, society, religion, and business (Full disclosure: I am a recurring guest on the program to talk business, legislation and the issues of the day).

LA Batchelor, show creator and host, first moved to North Carolina in 1998. He has been in radio for over 20 years working as a DJ playing urban R&B, jazz, rock, country, jazz, hip hop, gospel, quiet storm — and he’s done it during morning drive, mid-day, afternoon, evening, and overnight. “I’ve been all over the place,” says Batchelor. “It’s been a blessing. I love radio; it’s in my blood.”

The show’s eclectic mix of topics and guests as well as its broad audience enables the show to stay fresh, relevant, and on point for what impacts listeners on a daily basis. To learn more about the program, its host, and guests you can visit the show’s website: thebatchelorpadnetwork.com

 

Music Hall with Rocco Nittoli

“Radio shows don’t just happen. It takes planning and prep. It is about the music, the artist, and the message.” Says Rocco Nittoli host of WCOM’s Music Hall, which airs Saturdays 9 am to Noon. Rocco should know: He been on the air with Music Hall since December 2003, but began his radio career in 1961 and has spent decades honing his mastery of crafting the right mix of music, information on artists, and connecting with the audience across the airwaves.

Rocco’s experience in crafting a listener experience comes through in each Music Hall show. “I usually think about a theme for the show. My April 16 (2016) show’s theme was British groups. Then you find the strongest songs, not necessarily the number one songs or the biggest hits and groups, but you want timeless songs—the music and the lyrics—it needs to be as relevant today as it was when the music was made.” Says Rocco.

The best shows are seamless and seem effortless, but in reality require time and attention to detail in the planning, in choosing the music, and how to sequence it. They’re about making the transition between songs, messages, news, and information. According to Rocco, the best shows are about sharing the insights and the stories of the day and behind the music: “There is no substitute for experience in radio—people with experience have a huge advantage. Just like driving a car, the more time you spend behind the wheel the more instinctive it is to drive the car. [It’s] the same with radio. As you get older, you gain experience, but you also have changes in your voice, in learning the equipment, and the timing. It is different. You have to feel the show, the atmosphere of the day.” Says Rocco.

According to Rocco the theme shows in which he plays a genre or era of music take planning, but are more about finding the right songs and the right mix of sound and voices. Switching between groups and solo artists, male and female voice, tempo and beat, style and sound, it creates a dynamic interesting mix that keeps the audience tuned in. He wants a “tight” show where the audience hears song after song that connects them to the theme and to life. A song may take them back in time, get them to recall an emotion or experience, or become the soundtrack for the day. To keep the audience tuned in, put the effort into planning and preparing, and doing homework so the music mix brings fans in and keeps them listening.

Rocco’s Keys to a Great Show:

  1. Never play a “weak” song. Keep the audience in the theme, in the mood, and engaged.
  2. Always be prepared for a mistake, a glitch, a technical issue; have a backup plan for everything that could possibly go wrong. A CD isn’t playing? Have another ready to go. The microphone stops working? Have another plugged in. As part of your show preparation make a plan for what to do if the CD player doesn’t work, the turntable gets stuck, or the microphone goes dead.
  3. Always, always be aware of what you say on the air. The better you are on air, the more glaring the mistakes and technical issues will be. So be sure to keep the transitions smooth and tight, avoid dead air and develop your ability to adapt, recover, and keep the show interesting
  4. Remember: The first five minutes of the show sets the tone and are the hardest moments to do. With the first five minutes, you want to get the audience hooked and let them know what the show is about.

Rocco will be doing his 600th show in July 2016. Since Music Hall began in 2003, he has only missed two or three shows. For Rocco the show is as much about the lead in, the setup, the planning, as it is about the time on air. Tune in Saturdays 9 am to Noon Eastern to WCOM-FM’s Music Hall and listen to Rocco tell the story of our lives and times with timeless music and share his experience and love of music.

Author:  Lea Strickland, Host of Focus on Business

 

Radio Series: Long Lives Long View


Join us for a five-part radio series, Long Lives Long View as we investigate how longer life spans are changing the way we view aging in our culture. This radio series is a collaboration between UNC Partnerships in Aging Program and WCOM LPFM 103.5, Carrboro, NC. Broadcast journalist, Lee Anne McClymont, MHA of Courage Cocktail Radio Show, will host and produce the series. The hour-long radio episodes will broadcast each week, live from the studios of WCOM LPFM 103.5 Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC. Podcasts will be available after every program for listening on demand. Stay tuned for more details.

March board meeting highlights

The February minutes were approved and posted at http://wcomfm.org/index.php/about/minutes.

We are still badly in need of an engineer or two. We are still imposing on Bill McClymont. If you have ideas or want to become a station engineer or to chair the Engineering Committee, please email Tofu Dave at tofudave@gmail.com.

We are down to a small handful of hosts who either don’t have underwriting or haven’t signed a host agreement. These folks will be contacted one last time with a 30-day notice.

The door code will be changed in the near future.

Our cash on hand has dropped to just less than $2000, one of the lowest levels during the past four years. We have experienced two consecutive years with four-digit losses. The biggest reason is that our underwriting fees are too low to meet our budget, even if we had 100% participation.

Starting next week, we ramp up for our April 28 fundraiser at Silverspot. 

We have, therefore, decided to raise annual show underwriting to $144 effective January 1, 2017. That should increase our income by around $1200. To be clear, if a new or renewal underwriter pays on December 31, 2016 the fee is $120. If they pay on January 1, 2017, it will be $144.