We posted this little update on the week of craziness at WMOT 89.5 in our first Roots Radio biweekly newsletter. Are you on the list? Sign up here!
There’s a scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey, Finn and BB-8 escape from the planet Jakku by jumping in the Millennium Falcon and piloting it for the first time. It’s a bumpy ride, but they make it of course. The episode has come to mind a few times as I watch the on-air staff of the new WMOT slip into the pilot’s seat of a radio station that’s been on the air since 1969 and learn the controls in real time. Because there’s no simulator and no rehearsal time for this. Granted, we’re not being pursued by Imperial Tie Fighters, but it’s no small thing ingesting hundreds of new songs plus underwriter spots, liners, promos and station IDs into the broadcast computers and getting everything to line up seamlessly. But everyone is pulling together and working incredibly hard to make the product on the air sound great.
I’m still a bit disoriented by this feeling of turning on the radio and hearing a great song every time. And songs of all kinds: Songs I loved but haven’t pulled out in ages; Songs that are new to me from the catalog; Songs that are new and on fire from the likes of Parker Millsap, Elizabeth Cook and Sturgill Simpson. I love hearing the warm voices of John Walker, Bill Edwards, Keith Bilbrey, Whit Hubner and Jessie Scott guide us listeners through the music. And, have you noticed, there are NO COMMERCIALS? Yes, there are underwriting support pods of at most 30 seconds, but frankly, with partners as cool as Yee Haw Brewing and Acceptance Auto Insurance and Star 129 Diamond, and with rules that forbid blabberjabber and hype, it’s more like hearing news from the community than spots on legacy radio. It’s something really new and I’m proud of our team.
There will be stumbles and glitches on the air, but we promise we’re doing everything we can to make those as infrequent as possible. We’re on the learning curve and on-the-job training. We are here to stay and here to make this the best possible regionally-relevant radio experience. It has begun.