Thanks, Whitty Hood and OIB! You helped save Christmas, just like Binky the Clown!
(This post has been updated! Scroll down to the bottom of the article for the update!)
Some of you may remember my reporting last year that none of the public radio stations in our area would be carrying the annual live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge. Well, the other day I had a wonderful conversation with Adam Giblin, who is a wonderful person and is the Program Director for Red River Radio. (He also used to work for WUAL in Tuscaloosa, which is a great, GREAT radio station and makes Adam an even more wonderful person. Roll Tide! But I digress.) Anyway, Adam had good news for all you Ark/La/Tex denizens: the Nine Lessons and Carols broadcast will be carried by RRR! It starts at 9:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning and runs until about 11:30 a.m. You may also visit this page to see all the great Christmas programming RRR has planned.
But what about those of us who are either in the Ark/La/Miss or (as is the case with our fair hamlet) on the cusp of Ark/La/Miss and Ark/La/Tex (which, I guess, would make us just “Ark/La”)? That’s where you come in, and that’s where you can help save Christmas!
The Festival has taken place every year since 1918 and has been broadcast on the BBC every year since 1929 (the live broadcast on Christmas Eve is carried by Radio 4. Radio 3 usually replays it on Christmas Day). Public radio stations in this country have been broadcasting it every year since 1979, and it has become a Christmas Eve tradition for millions. For many on both sides of the Atlantic, Christmas officially begins with the first note of “Once in Royal David’s City”, sung unaccompanied by one of the boys in the choir (who is only told at the last minute that he will have the solo!).
KEDM (at ULM in Monroe), the public radio station for the Ark/La/Miss area, would like very much to carry the program, but the University cut KEDM’s budget severely this past year. I spoke with Cynthia Perdue, the General Magager of KEDM, and she said they need an underwriter (which can be a company or individuals) to underwrite the cost of carrying the program, which will be $125.00 (tax-deductible). The underwriter is, of course, given on-air credit, as in “this special live presentation of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is brought to you by the generous support of Paw-Paw’s Camper City.” (Hey, if you’re laughing, there actually is a Paw-Paw’s Camper City in Mississippi, and they used to underwrite lots of programs on Public Radio there!)
I’d love it if one or more JKPC members could underwrite the program in the name of the church, so they could say something like, “This broadcast is underwritten by John Knox Presbyterian Church in Ruston, who invite you to their annual Christmas Eve Communion Service this evening at 5:00 p.m.” How cool would that be? But no matter, if any of you are able to do this, you would be providing the distribution of an almost century-old Christmas tradition to one of the most under-served public radio markets in the U.S. (Heck, there wasn’t even a public radio station at all in this area until 1991, which was a full twenty years after the debut of All Things Considered and seventeen years after the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.)
If you would like to underwrite this or other great Christmas programming (last year was also the first year that many of these programs were no longer available for free, meaning KEDM cannot afford to carry nearly as many Christmas programs as they’d like), you can contact Cynthia Perdue, General Manager (kedmgm-at-ulm-dot-edu), and/or Susan Allain, Development Director (allain-at-ulm-dot-edu). Of course you’ll have to translate those E-mail addresses into proper form (I didn’t want them getting all sorts of spam by my posting their addresses on the blog). If you’d like to speak to either one of them, contact me and I can give you their phone numbers too (I didn’t feel good about posting those on the blog either).
So come on, Ark/La/Miss! Help save Christmas!
“Please, Sir, I want some decent music for Christmas Eve!”
Update: I received an E-mail from Cynthia Perdue, General Manager of KEDM in Monroe. Mr. Whitty Hood, President of Ouachita Independent Bank (OIB), read my request and decided that OIB would underwrite the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. It will air live on Christmas Eve morning at 9:00 a.m. on KEDM, 90.3 FM. Please let Mr. Hood and OIB know you appreciate their support of quality programming on public radio, and their service to our community!
KEDM still needs you! There is other holiday programming in need of underwriting, as well as other quality programming on KEDM. Contact Cynthia Perdue and/or Susan Allain at the addresses listed above to lend your support. Thanks!