I knew that the inevitable was coming…local public radio station KCRW 89.9 FM was about to run their 10 day long pledge drive. Where the usual cool music programs are interrupted 24/7 to ask for your support, aka $$$. I am an annual subscriber but still find it hard to listen to DJ after DJ asking for more and more money. It is public radio after all and I understand the financial demands of the station, but sometimes ya just want to hear a song dammit.
This year I decided that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So when KCRW put out a request for phone volunteers, I happily signed up. After all, this is the station that hosts Morning Becomes Eclectic – a daily 3 hour program of hand-picked, commercial free music. It’s also the program where I first heard artists such as Keane, Norah Jones, Coldplay, Damien Rice, Zero 7/Sia, Gomez and many more, way before these artists had any commercial success. I’ve also been lucky enough to win tickets to concerts of some of the mentioned artists. So spending 3 hours on a weekday taking people’s money on behalf of KCRW while chatting about music seemed like an ok way to spend a morning. I arrived at the station, which is housed in the basement of an unmarked building on the campus of Santa Monica City College, a JC about 2 miles from the beach. I signed up, slapped on a name badge and manned my station. My first call of the morning turned out to be an “Angel”. That’s KCRW-speak for a subscriber who pledges $1 a day, or $365 at once. Nice way to kick off the day!
Many “premiums” are given away when you pledge, for example dinner for two at a cool restaurant for a pledge of $100, or a spa day or concert tickets. Some of the restaurants were on-site cooking for the volunteer staff. This was not stale bagels and bad coffee my friend…more like some of the better restaurants in L.A. providing platter after platter of great foods and even fresh stirfry by local chefs for lunch.
I highly recommend giving Nic a listen from 9-12 PST on weekdays. You’ll discover some great new music and who knows – maybe even call in and become a member one day 🙂 If you can’t listen in live, check out the Archives on the website. TONS of cool shows from artists recorded live in their studios, some available in video form too. They have also produced their own line of CDs, also from live shows and have several artist’s recordings available on iTunes, just search “kcrw”.