Help Support Roots Music and Independent Radio

James Poe, one of my friends on Facebook operates a small independent radio station in Greenwood Mississippi.

WABG am 960

“The Awesome A-M” is the newest radio station in the Mississippi Delta.  The station’s format is Mississippi Delta Blues, Classic Rock and “Stuff” (anything the listeners want to hear and anything the DJs want to play).  This type format has never been attempted before.  Its originator, James Poe, bases the format on the Mississippi Delta’s diverse population mix.  His belief is that with the rich culture of the delta and their history of southern rock & roll and blues and their proximity to Memphis, makes this format a daring likely success.  Appropriately, the station’s physical location is set in the midst of the cotton fields of Greenwood, Mississippi on Money Road where the Emmett Till case unraveled in the 1950s, sparking the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  The station’s Money Road location is also the setting for the burial ground of legendary blues man Robert Johnson (one of many).  The station is located less than a mile from the Little Zion M. B. Church and cemetery.

The Awesome A-M’s programming focuses on tourism and the historical nature of the region.  Which is to say, the station is community driven!  Its target audience includes tourists and the local community alike.  When visitors from around the world frequent the area they are interviewed and the recordings are rebroadcast on the station, prompting partner, Bill Luckett to coin the station as “News, Blues, and Interviews.”

The target audience demographics are designated to attract Black and White males and females 25 years of age and older with special programming for other demos.

Special features like TAKE 5, The Steve Ladd Memorial Show, The Morning Show with Poe, and The Southern Soul Network’s R&B Blues Review make the station one of the most attractive formats in the world.

The station also features special Sunday Inspirational programming, jazz, and special features throughout the week.  Very few nationally syndicated shows are used according to Poe, who is also the General Manager.  “We’re building the station for the people of the Mississippi Delta and around the world who love the music of this region,”  He said.  The station focuses on locally produced shows done professionally dedicating time for local artists regardless of the genre of their music.  “We support local blues, classic rock, and other artists from around the world who support and are perpetuating the music of this region,”  he said.

Non-stop promotions accent the station’s unique format.  Hype and excitement throughout the year are its calling cards.  Plenty of “live remote” broadcasts and “the man on the streets” features are also included.  “The Awesome A-M is the station of the future — bringing People from around the world together.”  Poe concluded.

Now like many independent radio station playing roots and local music this station is struggling to stay alive.

Therefore I promised  James I would reach out to my readers and ask them read his pitch, follow the link and cast a vote to help him get in the running for this grant:

Thanks again for your support.  The station is my passion.  I gave up a wife, kids, dog, and remortgaged my home.  It has been a 40 year obsession with radio that has consumed me.  Now I’m in Heaven on earth.  I own my very own station — my life’s dream.  But there are sacrifices.  And believe you me I’ve made them all.  Here is an excerpt from my narrative when they ask what would you do with $250,000:

Our company has been operating at a deficit since its beginning.  Our facilities are still substandard meeting only minimum requirements.  We had no indoor toilets for the first two years.  We have no heat, say for portable heaters, and our water supply is tainted.  Our only worker, one of our owners, worked for the company from the beginning and has not been paid in three and a half years.  He secured interns and volunteers to keep the station operational over the past four years. 

We have managed to pay the rent and the FCC, but have had little luck securing revenue from advertisers to pay other expenses, because of the competitiveness of the market.  Yet we managed to do trade to run our contests and give-a-ways and personally absorbed the financial loss from our Robert Johnson Festival.  Our roof leaks and the facility is still in need of repairs.  We have none of the updated computer programs to run the station effectively.  We have no fax and can afford only one phone line. 

The station sits on 16 acres of property we lease, but we are unable to pay the $300 monthly for the grass cutting upkeep so it is often overgrown.  Although we have invested heavily in the station over the past four years (over $200,000), we have yet to make a profit. 

A $250,000 grant will enable us to repair the roof and take care of the necessary plumbing and water purification concerns, as well as pay some of our delinquent accounts, not the least of which is our managing partner who has invested over $30,000 out of pocket to the company over the past four years and continues to work without a salary, despite the company agreeing to pay him $4,000 a month.  He has been working around the clock and has orchestrated every major event. He is directly responsible for us not having to hire engineers or FCC Attorneys.  He repairs minor problems and prepared our license renewal package which was recently approved alleviating the cost of an attorney. 

We have been unable to secure full-time employees because we are unable to pay them.  Our most recent hire works for commission only.  In four months as General Sales Manager she is still without a paycheck and is threatening to leave us.  Some form of payment with the commission would secure at least one additional solid employee.  The grant would allow us to secure two other full-time employees and possibly a third part-time, which would create a smooth running and more effective operation.  Long-term this will ensure someone is “Live and Local” at the station 24 hours a day which is what was done with one person over the past four years. 

The station has lost one of its original owners who sold out to the managing partner who now owns 67% of the company.  This grant would secure the future of a small business that provides a vital service to the people of an under-serviced area.             

I need your help in getting a grant through for $250,000 for my radio station. I only found out about it Tuesday and have been working on it since. The narrative is the critical part and it is done and very strong, but I need 250 votes to get them to read it. Please click on this link and type in WABG for the Business Name and vote for me. I sure would appreciate it!

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