March 8, 2013

Program March 8, 2013

WRIR's 17th (hard to believe, isn't it?) fund drive gets started today at 5 PM during Global A Go-Go.  I just want to say thank you for listening to WRIR and Global A Go-Go, and for your previous support of Richmond Independent Radio if you've made a donation in the past.  I also want to ask you to consider making a generous donation of any amount you can afford during the current drive.

You can donate by calling 804-622-9747, visiting us in person at 1621-B West Broad Street in Richmond, or via our secure online donation site at

If nine years ago you had told me that WRIR would not only manage to get on the air, but would survive until 2013, I imagine I'd describe myself as pleasantly surprised.  If you had told me that it had become one of the USA's flagship low-power FM community radio stations, on the air 24 hours a day and run by over 200 volunteers of all ages, colors, shapes and sizes, I'd have been more than impressed.

And if you had told me that WRIR's business model would prove to be more sustainable than that of Clear Channel Communications (owner of 850 radio stations nationwide including six here in Richmond), I'd have asked you to pass me whatever you were smoking.  But that's where we are today.

At WRIR, we've always managed to operate our station on nothing more than the money we could actually raise from donations, underwriting, grants and contracts.  It cost about $15,000 (and a lot of volunteer "sweat equity") to get on the air; we've gradually grown the project to an annual budget of about $120,000 (and more volunteer hours than ever).  More than two-thirds of that amount is raised from listener donations during our semi-annual fund drives, and we've never had to (or wanted to) borrow a dime from anybody.

At Clear Channel, they do it a little differently.  They've borrowed $16 billion (yes, with a "b") from a huge pool of lenders, including $10 billion that's supposed to be repaid in 2016.  Regarding 2016, the Moody's credit rating agency drily notes, "... debt levels will exceed our expected asset value."  I'll translate that into common English for you: They're flat broke.  But not to worry -- I'm sure Clear Channel is working on their government bailout as I write.

(As an aside, do you want to know who's responsible for the car crash that is Clear Channel's business model?  The company is owned by a group of leveraged buyout investors led by, wait for it, Bain Capital Partners.  No, I am not making this up -- I'm not that clever.)

Richmond Independent Radio's financial statements show that we have no debts.  But in reality, we owe an enormous debt to you, the people who have made this improbable project a success by choosing to listen, and by caring enough to donate in order to make non-profit, public-service, community radio a viable alternative to the corporate-owned media that is so clearly failing all of its constituencies.

Thank you for your support in the past, and please consider making a donation to WRIR's Spring 2013 Fund Drive.  And don't forget to tune in to 97.3 FM (or live-streaming on the internet at for a very special fund-drive-kickoff edition of Global A Go-Go today at 5 PM.  The fabulous Richmond-based Brazilian ensemble Quatro Na Bossa will be performing live in the studio, and we'll be giving away copies of their brand-new album (and other goodies as well) to our earliest, most generous donors.

All the podcasts:

Song | Artist (Country) | Recording | Label

Separation | Oliver Lake (USA) | Matador Of 1st & 1st | Passin' Thru
Global A Go-Go | Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros (UK) | Global A Go-Go | Hellcat

Tres Clarinetes | Roberto Lopez Afro-Colombia Jazz Orchestra (Canada-Colombia) | Azul | Curura Musique
Tambo, Tambo | La Cumbia Soledena (Colombia) | The Original Sound Of Cumbia | Soundway
El Garabito | La Cumbia Soledena (Colombia) | Diablos Del Ritmo | Analog Africa

Quatro Na Bossa, live at WRIR:
Samba De Teleco-Teco
Cafe Com Pao
Parei Contigo

O Morro Nao Tem Vez | Quatro Na Bossa (RVA USA) | Bossa Nossa | self-released
A Correnteza | Quatro Na Bossa (RVA USA) | Bossa Nossa | self-released

Quatro Na Bossa, live at WRIR:
Maca Do Rosto
Embala Eu / Samba Da Minha Terra

All My Loving | Bloco Do Sargento Pimento (Brazil) | SoundCloud page
A Hard Day's Night | Rita Lee (Brazil) | Bossa 'N Beatles | Ghordo Music
Irene | Caetano Veloso (Brazil) | Caetano Veloso (white album) | Philips

Taj Mahal / Filho Maravilha / Pais Tropical | Monobloco (Brazil) | Live (Som Livre) | self-released

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