Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, April 02, 2006
      ( 4/02/2006 06:50:00 AM ) Bill S.  

DOWN IN THE ALLEY – It's spring pledge time for many of the PBS and NPR stations in the U.S. – and, like last fall, yours truly did a stint of phone volunteering last night for our local NPR Jazz 'n' Blues station WGLT. Wife Becky and I are mainly there for the blues, which holds sway over the station's programming for most of the weekend, and we're particularly enamored with Frank Black, who's been a blues deejay on the station for 21 years now. Whenever we volunteer, we try to get on one of Frank's Friday or Saturday night shows.

Times being what they are, pledge drive goals haven't been as easy a make as they useta be. A few years back, the university-based GLT was doing well enough with the pledges that it was able to cut its pledge drive down several days; this year the station has had to re-expand the pledge schedule by several days. Last night was fairly slow going; we were there four hours, and the first hour had nary a call. Though things picked up, we never got to the point where all five available phones were used at once.

Still, we had a fun time eating cold Avanti's pizza and chatting with Janet and Pete Moore, two volunteers we met for the first time this weekend. Janet does a nifty little science feature with ISU physics professor Jay Ansher entitled "Uncommon Knowledge" for the radio station. Spent time this a.m. playing a batch of these shows on the 'puter, and it's a keen collection of science factoids that explains, among other things, why the ink in the new ten dollar bills changes color when you look at it from different angles and whether an egg can really stand on its end the first day of spring. Janet and her hubby also do a Central Illinois-centric podcast called "Illinoise!," while Pete also has a second podcast devoted to un-boring Christian music plus a blog entitled The Bored Again Christian. Busy folks.

We also bought our share of leftover GLT merchandise while we were there: two travel mugs that had been a premium gift several years ago and a pair of Frank Black tee-shirts that were printed up last year to celebrate his twentieth anniversary at the station. Our coffee cups are predominately radio station mugs; they get a lotta use in our house, and the only ones that've shown any wear are a pair of latte mugs that, for some reason, lost some of their lettering in the dishwasher. Fortunately the station, which is celebrating its fortieth birthday this year, has proven more enduring . . .
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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