The Little Station That Could!
The Carrboro News
in it's effort to help make Carrboro the best town that it
can had decided to do a full insert on WCOM, complete with
photos, interviews, schedules, coupons and live feeds. To
do so would take a lot of work and planning, but it would
be well worth it, as it would direct tens
of thousands of new listeners to the little radio station
that looks like a bank.
The first step
is to get information, so one evening the lonely Carrboro
News reporter decided to tackle the job on the way home from
a night out on the town. Having had a few too many drinks
and having forgotten his handy reporters pen & notebook
combination kit that all serious reporters carry, he decided
to stop by just to pick up a few brochures. Seeing a head
bobbing in the window and the "on air" light flashing,
he knew that it would have to be a quick stop- distracting
the DJ from his tasks is a sure way to send a fledgling radio
station to its early grave.
With a quick rap
on the window and a finger pointing towards the door, the
reporter got the attention of the lonely DJ. They met at the
door and the reporter asked for a brochure which was quickly
presented. The reporter took the brochure and began imagining
in his head the wealth of information that little tri-fold
8 1/2 x 11 inch brochure would present. With a well filled
brochure, he thought, he could probably skip the interview
and all the other labor intensive methods of putting together
an article. Yup.... he thought he could crank this story out
in 20 minutes or less.
After a night of
peaceful sleep knowing that the WCOM story was as good as
in the bag, the reporter woke up, ate breakfast and then sat
down by his computer to start writing. He had 30 minutes before
it was diaper changing time so he was ready.... he picked
up the brochure and began reading. His normal method of reporting
was usually to read the whole brochure quickly and then slowly
go through it, transcribing the information on his computer,
making just enough changes to avoid being accused of plaugerization
But something was
terribly wrong. The first page was in Spanish. He scanned
through the other folds.. Spanish, Spanish, Spanish, Spanish,
Spanish. "My God! " he exclaimed to himself, "The
DJ gave me a Spanish brochure and although my Spanish is OK,
it is surely not good enough to translate something as official
as a radio station brochure."
In normal circumstances,
the reporter would have just said forget it and waited until
he got around to getting a brochure in English, but this was
not a normal circumstance. He had a deadline to meet.... with
that in mind he had to make due with what he had.....
during the Carrboro Music Festival.
Stock photo from The Carrboro News Archives.
There appears to
be a lot happening at WCOM. From the brochure it looks like
they play live music, people cheer(I think that's something
to do with the Community part of the station) and there's
an older guy who reads the news(but it's hard to say as the
photo is really blurry and he looks like it's a stock photo
from the 1950's). I can translate enough to know that WCOM
is "A radio that services the community". They appear
to have a web site at(www.CommunityRadio.coop).
It looks like it is run by volunteers and they accept donations.
They'll accept donations of $30,$60, $120, $250, $500 and
"other". It looks like their membership levels are
based on the "double down with a bump up at the halfway
mark" meaning that every membership level doubles until
you get to $120 where it doubles and adds $10 and then continues
to double again. This is a format used by many of the more
successful non-profits and acts to bump people up to a higher
level with higher rates without them realizing that two of
the lower rate memberships are less expensive than one of
the higher rate membership.(So if you want a bargain, buy
a membership for yourself and a friend for $120, instead of
one for yourself at $250).
The radio station
is the brainchild of Jacques Menage, creator of The Art Center,
El Chilango and owner of the soon to be recognized as a Carrboro
Historic Landmark- The Menage House on West Mail Street.
I could go on,
but The Carrboro News has a long standing policy that it will
not write just for the sake of filling out the paper, as many
other papers seem to have. The DJ gave us the wrong brochure,
we did the best we can and if you really want to know more
about WCOM then go to the radio station and request a brochure
in English(and tell them that The Carrboro News sent you!)