I’ll get to listener comments in a moment, but first this: after returning this week from vacation, I’m happy to report that there are strong signs of progress at WHQR – despite recent setbacks concerning our program automation. The system we use to run both HQR News and Classical HQR, called AudioVault, suffered a major failure in late June. The AudioVault controls not only operation at nights and weekends, allowing us to stay on the air 24 hours a day on both stations, but also assists with the many instances of pre-recorded content, such as news stories, Cultural Calendar, and many more. Its failure meant that the hard-working staff of WHQR had to pull double-duty to keep as much of the schedule as possible coming to you by working extra night and weekend shifts. I couldn’t be more proud of the professionalism and dedication of the outstanding staff here at the station. I salute all of them for pitching in to see us through. The good news is that permanent installation of our brand-new automation system will begin, we hope as early as this weekend.
The new system would not be possible without the success of our capacity-building campaign called emPowering Our Future. This campaign has been operating quietly in the background for over three years, and to date has raised over $1.2 million in gifts, from approximately 120 generous donors. We’re now in the public phase of the campaign, and hope to wrap it up shortly. You’ll hear more about it as we move toward the finish line.
It’s also important to underline that emPowering Our Future is for specific, one-time purchases to enhance our capacity, technological and physical infrastructure. It is entirely separate from our on-air campaigns like the current Summer Stealth Drive, which pays our regular bills for programming, mortgage, salaries, utilities and the like. The Stealth Drive is going well, over halfway to its goal, and if enough people pitch in with their contributions, we’ll dispense with our traditional on-air drive – for the second year in a row!
Now to some comments from the last couple of weeks:
One listener wrote that he missed Sunday Baroque on Sunday mornings. That, and With Heart and Voice, are two casualties of the failure of our AudioVault, as described above. We hope to have them both back on the schedule very soon.
Last Saturday and Sunday were Garrison Keillor’s last shows as host of A Prairie Home Companion. Listen for the return of The Thistle and Shamrock this Saturday at 6 pm, followed by Across the Blue Ridge. I’m told that guests at our Garrison Farewell party Saturday night at the station had a wonderful time. One listener wrote to me that he found Garrison’s final words – a selection of limericks -- was tasteless and a poor way to end his 41 years on the air. That’s Garrison for you – quirky to the end.
Steven Errante wrote:
I’ve been involved in one way or other with WHQR for 30 years (FPR Board, Advisory Board, on-air commentator from 2001 to 2005, etc.), and I just wished to say that CoastLine is the best locally-produced program to ever be aired on the station. The length of the program and the guests scheduled allow topics to be covered with a degree of depth that just isn’t done anywhere else, and I think it provides a valuable service to the area. Keep it up!
Finally, I want to extend a thank-you, farewell and good luck message to 3 of our 4 Graduate Fellows from UNCW, who moved on on June 30th: Meg Young in Development, Melissa Stone in Web Services, and Aurora Shimshak in Operations were all outstanding – highly competent, fun to work with, and outstanding examples of the kind of quality students UNCW enjoys.