REDBAND: Pump Up the Community by Tucker

Pump Up the Community by Tucker

We talk a good deal about community these days, in building connections, social graphs and connecting via social media.  The Politicos talk about rebuilding the economy by communities coming together but the actuality is a rare sight indeed.

One of the places that actual communities come together is via a remarkable radio station – WLNG of Sag Harbor Long Island.  The place is almost an anachronism in the radio business at  5,300 watts the station should only be a footnote yet its reach and influence is that of stations with 10 times the power.  The Station is a marvel that honors the years of relentless promotion and guidance by the remarkable Paul Sidney.  When Mr. Sidney died it brought forth an epiphany on just how much the station has meant to me and the town I grew up in – you can see my ‘eulogy’ here.

Stations like the Uber local WLNG have been the subject of ridicule and praise since their inception and, to be honest, the station has been worthy of both. It is one part the radio show in ‘One Crazy Summer’ and one Part “Pump Up The Volume’ providing oddball shows like Swap and Shop while catering to the tourists expectations of a “Beach Community”  broadcaster.  Which makes the actions of the WLNG staff during hurricane Sandy all the more remarkable – or should I say commendable for I could not imagine them NOT being so dedicated.

The Stations broadcast facilities are not in some high-rise building or even in the main town but sits precariously on the edge of a bay.  The location is part of the charm but it has its dangers as Sandy’s fury demonstrated.  During the height of the storm the station kept broadcasting even as the water began to creep steadily toward the building eventually breaching the floor and walls.  Still the staff kept broadcasting. Doning fisherman’s boots (which hopefully prevented them from grounding) they continued even as the water rose to ankle high depth.  Only when it became evident that things were about to get a lot worse did the staff (I believe) reluctantly leave their posts and suspended their outreach.  As soon as the waters began to hint at receding , WLNG was back on air.

What is even more remarkable is that this is in line with a long-standing tradition at the station – to ride out the storms and provide a comforting and familiar voice in times of natural disaster.  It is remarkable not for WLNG as their entire existence has been to serve the community, to bring it together.

Many are already mourning the death of radio but long after the Clear Channel cookie cutter stations have long been forgotten WLNG will still be transmitting and serving with a purpose.

Are you as dedicated to your clientele?  If you are they will be.

Tucker

When asked to recap his career and life Tucker responded “Me? I am just a figment of your collective imagination and let me tell you that living this life has taught me one thing- you people are twisted Mofos”   You can follow Tucker on Twitter @Tuckertues or his personal blog on tech and tech culture at http://tuckerstuesday.typepad.com

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