"You may not recognize me, but I work for you!"
This is the honest greeting which I have offered audiences at live music events where I have had the pleasure and privilege of being the MC over the last few years. It's literally true. Listener support provides the salaries of all of our "live and local" weekend music hosts...Wendy Wright (From Memphis To Motown), Jeremy Baldwin (The Roots Music Project), Nik Thompson (The Sunday Best), Daniel Long (In The Groove Yard), Jessica Webster (The In Crowd), and Joe Tiboni (The Big City Blues Cruise): we ALL work for you. And we are happily honored to do that thing!
Your ongoing financial support ensures that we will continue to be there, bringing you the inspirational music and good company you have come to rely upon.
As we approach the end of a fiscal year upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shared collective sacrifice and difficulty. I mean you - our listeners - and us - here at WEMU. We found it necessary to cancel our spring fundraiser, where the studio suite is usually crowded with volunteers and staff pitching to you (singing for our supper!), answering phones, sharing food donations from area restaurants, and laughing out loud...a lot! Pretty quiet here this past March...weird.
We have had to reckon with budget cutbacks, taking their toll on all departments at EMU, from the Office of the President, to some of our WEMU support staff. WEMU had to say a sad farewell to our program director and corporate support manager. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the well being of our core weekday staff, we have severely limited traffic in the studio in deference to their safety and well being (no more steady flow of dynamic area personalities buzzing in and out of the studio complex and doing interviews to share). We need to keep them healthy, that they might be here to serve you, and we hope, help you maintain some degree of balance in this difficult time. I just returned to my Tuesday/Thursday work in our library for the first time since late February, so I know it's tough out there. We're all feeling it.
I have recently befriended visionary pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman. I have been featuring the astonishing and therapeutic recordings of her New Yor-Uba Ensemble on Cuban Fantasy. Check it out! You will be glad you did! She has shared with me the difficulty all musicians are facing when the opportunities for live performances have been largely restricted or eliminated all together. She has been helping in the curation of online presentations of solo concerts. We have all been tasked with finding new ways to do the things we love...if we are able to do them at all!
I am happy that WEMU has resolved to continue to bring you our regular programs. The last few months have made every day feel like "Blursday". But I know when it's Saturday! That's the day that WE get to be alone TOGETHER, share inspirational music, take a few deep breaths mingled with the occasional sigh, and fortify ourselves for the week ahead! What a blessing that is.
Now is the time that WEMU is seeking your help in fortifying the station for the year ahead. Our fiscal year ends June 30th. Weekender salaries is only a slice of the pie-of-need that your financial gifts address. If you value the service we are honored to provide...if you have found some measure of inspiration and psycho-physio-emotional-spiritual support and encouragement from WEMU (Your Community NPR station) over the last three months...if you want to make sure that we are able to keep on keepin' on...please make a financial gift of support before June 30th. We are all in this together, and listener support represents the lions' and tigers' share of our annual budgets.
I thank you sincerely for the generous support that many of you have already shown us this year. If you haven't made a gift, and you dig what we do...or if you are moved to kick back a little sumpin' sumpin' more...I thank you in advance. #teamwemu!
As I often say on the air, "We are pleased and privileged to be doing it here with you, and for you, and we couldn't be doing it without you!"
Thank you. Thank you very much!
Sincerely. Marc S. Taras "El Cura". Host of Cuban Fantasy.