WEFT Community Radio Volunteering (1998-2001)

Roles: Airshifter (on-air), WEFT Courier Editor, Graphics, General Volunteer

History

Originating in the 1990s, before the rich life of marriage and children dragged me out of this cool, cool world – I volunteered for the Community Radio Station on 90.1 WEFT in Champaign, Illinois. I was in it to be around like minded musical folk for certain radio and musical events like the album yard sale (!!!). Later I got my own shot at a 2 hour time slot. Being all volunteer, we ran the mixing board and answered the phones ourselves just like in the old days. But, there was more than just having a show.

Airshifter

I wore many hats at WEFT and I loved planning, producing, and airing my own show. A theme had emerged from me creatively where I really liked where technology and “art” meet. I put art in quotes because I don’t mean it like “that”. But, seeing as how we were using Soviet-era technology you got used to doing things manually on the actual mixing board as you spoke that is surely all automated and digital by now.

My first show was on December 31, 1999. Yep, Y2K. From 5-7 PM filling in for shows that would become mine soon after. Being solo for the first time in the studio, however, I nearly needed a change of underwear. But, the world got through it like I did. Exhilirating day!

My shows? I inherited “The Jam Band Hour” that featured the emerging improv rock movement started by the Grateful Dead and perpetuated further by Phish in their stead. By that time the genre had deep tentacles into rock in general. I was a show collector and prided myself on having the newest and freshest recordings to bring to people. The second hour was a sattelite airing of the “Grateful Dead Hour” which required little effort on my part.

But, as an airshifter you learned to be a wily substitute airshifter on others’ genres quickly. Eventually, I became an oft fill-in for some night time jazz shows that really allowed me to play some far out things. Music where even the normal host called in to me and asked what it was I was playing. But, you could be doing anything in any week. It was great!

My first show was on December 31, 1999. Yep, Y2K. From 5-7 PM filling in for those shows that would become mine. Being solo for the first time in the studio, I nearly needed a change of underwear. But, the world got through it like I did. Exhilirating day.

Almost as exhilirating as when I was given the honor of kicking off the week-long pledge drive on my show. The idea was that all WEFT volunteers would be at the WEFT studios during my show and I would interview the (mostly inebriated) old guard one after another to drum up pledges. It was an exhilirating two hours of radio when everyone pats you on the back and hands you a drink when you’re done. I had done my job. We got a lot of pledges.

More audio…

If you want to learn about my podcast, go to The Music Challenge Podcast.

Newspaper Editor

One of my duties was to produce and layout the WEFT Courier which was a 4 page broadsheet newspaper (8 pages folded) that came out monthly. It contained content produced by the politically and evironmentally conscious constituency that made up WEFT volunteers.

I often ended up writing stories to fill space because I was the sole coordinator of the newspaper. The life of an editor.

Author

Articles ranged from the preservation of natural grasses in Central Illinois to calling out City alderman for their “un-democratic” ways. Once people wrote their articles (usually ignoring word counts) it was my job to combine the articles into a newspaper using best graphic and layout practices on a Mac using QuarkXpress. As well, I often ended up writing stories to fill space because I was the sole coordinator of the information. The life of an editor. 🙂


Schedule Grid

This schedule grid had to be re-designed for digital and the current schedule at the time. Previously it only existed in paste up format. (not paste up mode, an actual hot wax paste up).

Artwork for display only, not current scheduling.

The result is that the schedule grid became a vector digital file appearing in every publication of the WEFT Courier newspaper, but also on numerous pledge reward T-shirts and anywhere we wanted to put our schedule in a concise format. It was packed with information that could easily be changed out with a few keystrokes. A variation of it still remains.

Let me know what you think!