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.

Local Governments Support WCOM

WCOM will receive the most financial support from local government to date for FY2016-2017! The total of $1750 is the 3.5 times what we received during FY2015-2016.
 
The Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved an entirely new allocation of $1000. The Town of Carrboro increased its support to $750 from $500. Both funding allocations came through the Combined Outside Agency Heath and Human Services process that began with our submission of a complex application in January.
 
We appreciate this show of support from our local government elected officials and the WCOM show hosts who have welcomed them to our airwaves.

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.

Brief Notes from February Board Meeting

Brief Notes From February 10 2016 PGC Board Meeting

 

January minutes were approved and have been posted at: http://wcomfm.org/index.php/about/minutes

We came up with a couple of actions to fill our thin bench in engineering.

The Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance has become an Angel Voices underwriter.

Tana Hartman Thorne, Becky Johnson, and Don Emmett have joined the Volunteer Committee.

As required by our bylaws, the Board defined qualifications for being a “member” and thus eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting: Members will be all current hosts with a signed agreement, all who have donated money to WCOM or volunteered in a non-host capacity, and our “staff,” one very part-time bookkeeper. That gives us a total of 80 members.

We are slowing moving toward compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

We have filed our 990N to IRS and our application for Exemption from Charitable Solicitation Licensing with the NC Secretary of State.

In January we got funding applications in to Town of Carrboro, Strowd-Roses Foundation, and Orange County. We have station fundraisers planned: WCOM Solstice celebration on top of Pickards Mountain (June 20), WCOM Night at the Kraken (August 20), and our annual birthday celebration at Hickory Tavern (November 3), with one more in the works.

 

The  next board meeting is 4PM on March 9 at The ArtsCenter. All WCOM  members may attend.

Four Changes Two of Them Good

Lots of WCOM news to report, most of them changes.

Two WCOM volunteer hosts have laid down their microphones. Claudio Niedworok has hosted “Claudio’s Speakeasy” on Tuesday mornings for eight years, driving an hour each way to do so. He has interviewed many people in the arts during that time and recorded many liners for hosts. Claudio recruited Durham’s Carolina Theater as a Golden Voice underwriter. When their well publicized financial difficulties meant they could not renew, our resident seafarer, chef, actor, and storyteller decided it was time to move on. Claudio presented his final show on January 26.

In December, Brian Parren completed three years of hosting “Jazz Before Parker,” which showcased the best in classic, swinging, pre-Bebop music. Brian decided he had accomplished what he had intended to do with the show.

In the positive change department, thanks to Bill McClymont our way better, 85 mbps download Internet hookup went live on January 27. This should eliminate the dropouts that particularly effected on network programs such as “Undercurrents” and “Democracy Now” that are delivered over the Internet.

Another is that, thanks to James Coley pointing it out, we changed some unfortunate, contra-free speech language that had been in the host agreements for at least four years. The new policy reads: Hosts must clearly state that “the opinions expressed on this show are not those of WCOM, its board, or underwriters.”

Other good things include adding Don Emmett to the board of directors, bringing us to the seven required by our bylaws. The board adopted a budget for 2016. We negotiated a new, four-year lease with The ArtsCenter and submitted applications for general operating support to Town of Carrboro, Orange County, and the Strowd-Roses Foundation. Mark the evening of June 20 on your calendars since it appears that we’ll be able to have a WCOM Summer Solstice event at a very special location.

The Development Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 3 at 2:30PM at the Grey Squirrel between WCOM and Cat’s Cradle. The Board of Directors meets next at The ArtsCenter on Wednesday, February 10 at 4PM. Both meetings are open to any volunteer hosts or donors.