(Photo credit: Lana Dandan; Under the large phone membership drive phone number, an engineer listens to sound levels and mic checks while WERS staff and musicians coordinate the recording and broadcast that will take place in 5..4...3..)
Published March 24
This was an important assignment for me because it involved one of the most dramatic events of the year for WERS: Live Music Week. WERS is Emerson's radio station, but it is completely supported by its Boston audience, and remains one of Boston's most highly-rated radio stations as well as holding the top slot among college radio stations across the country. To gain the funds needed for its operating budget and updating goals, WERS holds two fundraiser/membership drives during the year, one in Nov. and Live Music Week in March (this is also usually midterms week for students). WERS also records the largest number of live music acts in the region, and over 90 artists came this year, ranging from Wu-Tang members to local heroes, to play in-studio and support the drive. Meanwhile, everyone had to do a shift or two at the phones, where most callers pledging money also weighed in on the ways WERS had changed their lives for the positive in some way.
Every year, someone is chosen to write the big wrap-up article for all of this, and this year my editors asked if I would do it. I had already taken several assignments that week, many of which appear on this site. But that night I spent hours wandering around the studio, talking to everyone from phone operators in the newsroom to engineers in the studio. I barged in on hosts and musicians and asked them what they thought of all this. The overwheming responses were: tired and inspired. The result, which I filed at 1 a.m. that night, was a piece that I found ultimately satisfying in that instead of telling "their" story, I told "our story." Since journalism is usually done at arms' length, it felt good to write about something with which I was so intimately connected. Several people have since told me that this piece made them cry. It still makes me smile. Except for when I think about those empty pizza boxes. Someone had always eaten all the free pizza by the time I came into the studio. Bad form, guys, bad form.
(Photo credit: Lana Dandan; Some movers and shakers of WERS: Paul O'Neill, Assistant Music Director, Anna Sumilat, Program Director, Lee Doerr, Public Relations Coordinator, and Nichole Davis, Gyroscope Coordinator.)