Good and bad, public and private, political and personal, 2020 forced us to reevaluate how and why we do everyday things.
Radio has been no exception. Without a studio or traditional equipment, our tech and programming directors had to get creative, quickly adopting new technologies to make sure our DJs could get back on the air as soon as possible. And while we’re making it work, a lot of things are not as they used to be. We no longer have access to our immense collection of CDs and vinyl, which we started before the 1960s. We can no longer host bands, hold interviews, or invite guest DJs for in-studio performances. Most of all, we don’t have that distinct, chaotic, punk-show-bathroom-meets-tacky-grandma environment to inspire our on-air babble. We’ll be back there someday, but the end is not quite in sight.
But ultimately, change is built into our station. We’ve come a long way from that small AM transmitter in H. Grant Theis’s dorm room, ca. 1940. We jumped on the FM train in 1955, over a decade before it became mainstream. WPRB’s hip-hop shows brought us underground rap back in the 80s, even before MTV’s Yo! graced our TV sets. WPRB sees the change, opens the door, and tells it to come right on in.
While the changes brought on by COVID were not all pleasant or welcome, we’re finding ways to make the best of it. We’ve brought back live broadcasts, nearly round-the-clock programming, and special (remote) guests, whenever possible. We’re even building a virtual community in our interactive online playlists, where hosts and listeners alike share memories, memes, and cooking tips.
To celebrate all of the change we’ve undergone in our 80 years of broadcasting and all the change we will undergo in years to come, this year’s membership drive will feature an 8-episode series of audio collages featuring interviews, promos, airchecks, and more from each decade of WPRB. To those who haven’t yet pledged to donate monthly, we earnestly ask that you make this commitment. And as a thank you for supporting us through all our evolutions, you’ll receive a sick WPRB phrog shirt! COVID has severely limited our ability to send out swag, so only monthly donors will receive shirts this year. To those who’ve pledged before, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us keep going—monthly donations are invaluable to our survival—and we’d appreciate any additional one-time or recurring gifts you can make. As an existing donor, you will automatically receive this year’s shirt. High-pledging members will receive all of the audio on a custom USB!
Unfortunately, to keep our DJs safe, phone-in donations will not be an option in 2021. You can make your tax-deductible pledge between the above dates by visiting our secure, encrypted pledge site, pledge.wprb.com, or filling out and mailing the form on the back of this letter. Rest assured, WPRB never shares your personal information. Thank you for helping us do what we love for the communities we love. Catch you on the airwaves!
Development Director, WPRB 103.3FM