10 with a bullet
WTMD gaining listener, industry ears
There's a select group of U.S. radio stations known for their savvy
audiences, varied playlists and knack for introducing new and interesting
music. Listener-supported WTMD-89.7 is now one of them.
Stephen Yasko, WTMD's general manager, says the station officially
became a Radio and Records reporting station last week,
joining public Triple A powerhouses such as WXPN in Philadelphia,
WYEP in Pittsburgh and WDET in Detroit, not to mention nationally
regarded commercial stations like KFOG in San Francisco.
“Radio and Records is the music industry's most important
trade publication,” explains Yasko, who assumed his post in 2002.
“It computes the number of “spins” a new song gets and compiles
the charts used to determine whether or not it's a hit.
The publication is looking
for much more than great programming, he adds. “They want stations
with a highly sophisticated listener base—stations that break new
artists and influence taste.”
And since relatively few stations are asked to report, Yasko says
WTMD's impact on the recording industry will be disproportionately
larger than that of some comparable stations with more listeners.
“We're doing what matters to us—and
when Radio and Records comes knocking, that's just more
confirmation that we're on to something special,” he adds.
WTMD projects include
co-sponsoring First Thursdays concerts in Baltimore's Mount Vernon
Square with The Downtown Partnership, City Paper, Agora
Publishing and the Mount Vernon Business Association. Among
those booked to perform are national recording artists Steve Forbert
and Mike Errico, plus up-and-comers BR549.
Yasko says the station also maintains
“a great relationship” with the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, which
is planning to open a 1,000-seat venue at powerplant live.
Despite its successes, WTMD remains
dependent on the generosity of others to maintain its near-legendary
quality and stay on the air, says Yasko, who notes that 75 percent
of its operating budget comes from underwriter and listener support.
“We've had a great response
from the listeners, and the area business community has been incredibly
supportive,” he adds. “We've had a mutually rewarding partnership
with Antwerpen Volkswagen, and we're looking for other business
underwriters with whom we can work in the future.
“Ultimately, our goal isn't to have the biggest listening audience,
but the audience that spends the most time listening, ” he says.
“We want WTMD to be the station that's with you when you're dealing
with Beltway gridlock—the one that's so good, you don't mind the
WTMD-89.7's next on-air fund drive is May 15-21. To join or
renew your membership online, go to www.wtmd.org
Story by Jan Lucas/Photo
by Kanji Takeno
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