Station Director Jim Pemberton On The Future Of WQNA

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We haven’t been able to clear the air much on what has been going on with our community radio station which is home of The Dumb Records Radio Show, WQNA, since it was announced that the station was being sold by The Capitol Area Career Center a month or so ago now. There has been a lot happening behind the scenes of WQNA since that announcement and there have been a few meetings even inside our very own space with station DJs as far as discussion for any options of continuing the station in some form or another.

We did get the chance to sit down with station director of 20 years Jim Pemberton on our radio show a couple of weeks ago to discuss in detail where WQNA as a station currently stands and what could happen as far as the station continuing. Jim seems confident that the station at this point will be continuing in some form or another (even if it is just online only), and things will be playing out in coming weeks and months. We were finally able to type up most of the interview which you can find below, also stream the whole entire episode on the player embedded directly below for the full interview.

For the past forty years that the station has existed it has been owned and operated by the board of governors of the Capitol Area Career Center, which is the school that the station is located in. And they have allowed us as community volunteers to basically do whatever we wanted for the past twenty years, which if you think about it is just plain crazy. That doesn’t happen anywhere else. The fact that we can do this for the past twenty years with almost a completely free hand is astonishing. For a lot of understandable reasons they have decided they are going to sell the radio station. The reason they had the radio station to begin with was to act as a teaching tool for high school students and in some cases early college students to learn broadcasting and to possibly take those skills into a professional job in communications. To make a long story short the enrollment has been dropping steadily – not just with the program here but throughout the country. There are a lot of reasons why that has happened. It had gotten to a point about six months ago where they told us “look, we are going to try to get the numbers up, we would prefer to keep the station if we can, but if we can’t keep the numbers up we might not be able to justify keeping it.” Well, the numbers did not come up so it was decided that they were in fact going to sell the radio station.

So what does that mean for us? Well, what I can say now at this particular juncture I am 99.999% certain that the WQNA format that you are listening to now – the same programs, the same jocks, the whole bit… is going to continue in some form. Now what does that some form mean? Does that mean we continue as an internet only radio station? Does that mean we continue as an FM station on another frequency? OR does that mean we continue as 88.3 FM right here where we are now? That it is too soon to say. But I can tell you – and you (Brian) can vouch for this because you have been in the meetings – I can tell you that all three possibilities are being discussed. Meetings have happened, negotiations have happened. We have met specifically with the board that runs CACC, and I won’t go into specifics as far as what was discussed but I will tell you that we did meet with them and it did go very well, it was very positive. So, something good will come out of this. I’m not sure which good thing it will be, but like I say I am almost entirely certain that one way or another we are going to keep doing this even after the station is sold by the CACC, it might be still on 88.3, it might be another place on the dial, or it might be internet only. Either way, what we are doing now is kind of getting the legal end of it taken care of. Several of us have been involved with getting that done, we are working on getting 501c3 non for profit status that we would be able to operate either this station or another station or the internet thing as a non-for-profit, legit, charitable endeavor and keep it running kind of as it is now like a community-based, not for profit radio station. One of the questions I’ve been asked a lot is could you, if you were to take ownership of the station, could you turn it into a commercial station and sell advertising? No, we could not do that. And the reason we couldn’t is because the way the FCC has set it up is that everything on the FM dial at 91.9 or lower is considered the “non-commercial band.” So you’ll notice – 91.9 that’s where WUIS is, right below that you’ve got WLUJ which is a Christian station, you got WILL the classical station out of Urbana – all of them non-commercial stations. So, because we are 88.3 on the dial on the non-commercial band, we will always be a non-commercial radio station so that’s how we will have to operate it. So to do that, even if it’s just internet only, we’re still going to have to get money together and that’s going to have to mean soliciting funds, and that’s got to mean we’ve got to do everything transparently and to the board. And if the question is asked us “what’s my money going to”, we can answer that question. So what we’re doing now is we’re getting the 501C3 stuff taken care of – it’s a slog – you know it takes a little while to do this, but one of the things you can do while you are waiting for your application to go through (which it should, as long as you do your paperwork right you should be okay), you can get another organization that has 501C3 status to potentially sponsor you and act as your umbrella to vouch for you. We think, I’m not going to say who because it’s not official yet, we think we found the organization that’s willing to do that for us. So once that goes through we actually can start saying “alright, this is the amount of money we are shooting for.” We can say “alright, if we can’t buy the radio station we are at least going to keep it going as an internet station or go elsewhere on the dial.” So we’ve got a plan B and a plan C if plan A doesn’t come through. It’s not going to be the easiest thing we did, it’s going to be a tall mountain because it’s going to require quite a bit of money. For example if we were able to get ahold of this place we are going to have to pay the purchase price, and plus there’s going to be location to another building, there’s going to be equipment upgrades, there are things in this building that are held together with duct tape and spit. It wouldn’t be easy, but I’m not entirely convinced we couldn’t do it. That’s the thing, nobody wants to give up. When the hammer kind of fell everybody was like “alright, what are we going to do about this?” I have been asked from people so many times – the biggest question they have asked is “what can I do?” Even right now there is not an easy answer to that because a few more dominoes have to fall into place, but once that happens, once we are able to go out and legally ask for a specific amount of money, and we can say this is what we are going to try to do, then we can talk about it.

The people who have been our audience for the past twenty years and still are are what make it all worth it.

– Jim Pemberton, WQNA Station Director

WQNA does have a website at wqnaradio.org that you can follow, also a newly created facebook page right here that any future updates will possibly be posted to.

Tonight at Dumb Records: Rockford, The Telephone Junkies, Sorry Charlie

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Good morning everyone and welcome to the weekend!! We have two shows going on both tonight and tomorrow night. Tonight is a solid three band show that you won’t want to miss, and tomorrow night is the second hip hop show we have put on at our new space downtown. Tonight is special because it is going to be the last ever show for local band Rockford! The last time Rockford played was the final final last ever Black Sheep show back in December. This will be their first time performing at our new space and their last show before some of them depart off to college and different cities into the big world. Good luck to all of them. Stream their music one last time on the player below. Also playing this show is Rockford’s long time friends The Telephone Junkies. And opening things up we have the return of another band we have not seen in quite a minute – Sorry Charlie!

All of this starts at 7:00 pm that night and admission is $5. Check out a facebook event for this one right here. Also be sure to check out our shows page to see what else is coming up in the near future at our space.

Videos: HUSHED at Bread Sheep 6-15-19

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Today we bring you a pretty low-quality video of a band playing at Bread Sheep this past Saturday. The sound quality is not great at all especially on where the camera was positioned. Sorry, we’ll get better at this. Anyways, check that out on the player below, or on youtube right here. We’re trying to get our youtube page more active again or something.

Also check out the vids/pics page on our site for a bunch of (mostly old Black Sheep) show videos.

New Arrivals This Week At Dumb Records

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It’s Tuesday – here we are this afternoon with a fresh batch / new arrivals for our record store located at 418 E Monroe Street downtown. This is just a fraction of all of the new and used CDs and records that are being plopped out onto the shelves every single day. Stop by the store sometime and pick out a record for Record of the Night. The store is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm every single day. Let’s take a look at this week’s schedule and then dive into what’s new:

Tuesday (today): 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday (show): 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday (show): 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Monday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Used LPs
Anita Baker – Giving You The Best That I Got
Anita Baker – Rapture
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations: The Best of the Beach Boys
Belle Barth – My Next Story Is A Little Risque
Bob Wills – The Bob Wills Anthology
Bobby Darin – The Legend Of Bobby Darin
Bruce Springsteen – Darkness On The Edge of Town
Buddy Holly – Legend
The Chad Mitchell Trio – Reflecting
The Chad Mitchell Trio – At The Bitter End
Code Blue – Code Blue
Cowsills – II x II
Daryl Hall / John Oates – Bigger Than The Both of Us
The Dells – No Way Back
Dennis Coffey – Goin’ For Myself
The Electric Indian – Keem-O-Sabe
Ensemble of The Bulgarian Republic – Music of Bulgaria
Hank Snow – Big Country Hits
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Pushin’ Weight
Isaac Hayes – The Best of Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes – …To Be Continued
Joe And Eddie – “Live” In Hollywood
Jimmy Buffett – Son of A Son Of A Sailor
Jeffy Reed – Georgia Sunshine
Linda Ronstadt – Don’t Cry
Linda Ronstadt – Greatest Hits
Mantovani And His Orchestra – The Mantovani Sound
The Marshall Tucker Band – Carolina Dreams
The Marshall Tucker Band – Long Hard Ride
The Mothers of Invention – The **** Of The Mothers
The Mothers of Invention – We’re Only In It For The Money
Neil Sedaka – Sings His Greatest Hits
The Norman Luboff Choir – Songs Of The South
Oak Ridge Boys – Vintage Oaks
The O’Jays – Collectors Items
Patrice Rushen – Watch Out!
Randy Travis – Old 8×10
Sly & The Family Stone – Greatest Hits
Sparks – Kimono My House
The Statler Brothers – Entertainers On And Off The Record
Steve Winwood – Steve Winwood
Van Halen – Van Halen II
Was (Not Was) – Was (Not Was)
Willie Nelson – Somewhere Over The Rainbow

12” Singles
Abstract Rude – All Day
Big Moe – Confidential Playa / Purple Stuff
Boom Bap Project – Rock The Spot
Divine Sounds – What People Do For Money
Gutta Butta – Volume One
Ice Cube – Pushin’ Weight
Ideal – Get Gone (The Noontime Remixes)
Lil’ Zane – None Tonight / What’s Up
Mario – C’Mon
Ruff Ryders – Some X Sh*t
Smut Peddlers – Talk Like Sex Pt. 2
Various – Phat Classics

New CDs
Abba – The Definitive Collection
Air Supply – The One That You Love
Air Supply – Greatest Hits Live… Now And Forever
Alex Bugnon – Soul Purpose
Allison Moorer – Miss Fortune
Arthur Fiedler – Fiedler On The Roof
The Benoit/Freeman Project – The Benoit/Freeman Project
Billy Preston – Ultimate Collection
Booker T. & The M.G.’s – That’s The Way It Should Be
The Braxton Brothers – Cooking With Lasers
The Braxton Brothers – Now & Forever
The Charlie Daniels Band – Redneck Fiddlin’ Man
The Carlie Daniels Band – The Live Record
Chris Botti – December
Chris Botti – When I Fall In Love
Chris Hillman / Herb Pedersen – Way Out West
Counting Crows – Films About Ghosts
Counting Crows – Hard Candy
David Benoit – Fuzzy Logic
Faith Hill – Cray
Gary Burton – Selected Recordings
Hank Williams – The Ultimate Collection
Hank Williams – The Greatest Country Singer Of All Time
Huey Lewis And The News – Plan B
Huey Lewis And The News – Sports
Jeanie Bryson – Deja Blue
John Williams / Boston Pops – Salute To America
John Williams / Boston Pops – Music For Stage And Screen
Kenny Burrell – Lucky So And So
Kevin Denney – Kevin Denney
Mark Wills – Greatest Hits
Montgomery Gentry – My Town
Nanci Griffith – From A Distance
Otis Redding – The Very Best of Vol. 2
Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
Peter Gabriel – Plays Live
Peter Gabriel – Security
Richard Marx – Richard Marx
Shannon Lawson – Chase The Sun
Stevie Wonder – Talking Book
Stevie Wonder – In Square Circle
The Pointers Sisters – Ain’ Misbehavin’!
Trvis Tritt – Ten Feet Tall And Bulletproof
Trick Pony – On A Mission
Ty Herndon – Greatest Hits
Various – In To The Mix IV: The Classix Remixed
Various – That Trance Mix
Various – Soul Hits Of The 60’s
Various – 50,000,000 DJ’s Can’t Be Wrong
Victor Bailey – Low Blow
Walter Beasley – Rendezvous
Will Smith – Big Willie Style
Winsor Harmon – Stars of Texas

Today on The Dumb Records Radio Show: Celeste Durham (Creative Earth Art Show)

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It’s Friday so we’ve got another episode of The Dumb Records Radio Show lined up! Wow! We’ve got this nice new cool graphic for our recently re-named radio program (formerly The Black Sheep radio show). Wow thanks to local graphics guy Brian Galecki for designing this logo for us, thanks Brian, your check is coming in the mail later on. Today on our radio program we have Celeste Durham coming in, the one who is responsible for organizing the Creative Earth Art Show happening at our space tomorrow from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. We’ll be talking to Celeste as well as playing plenty of local music and bands that are coming to town.

The Dumb Records Radio Show airs today and every Friday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on 88.3 WQNA fm. You can check it out online at that same time on wqnaradio.org.

Tonight at Bread Sheep: Stick People, Hollywood Horses, Master Bastard, The Little Death

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Well this one sure snuck up on us! Believe it or not, we actually have a show going on at Bread Stretchers tonight! We welcome the return of Stick People from Taylorville, (who did play there last on Record Store Day last month)! Tonight Stick People are bringing in a big touring act and that is Hollywood Horses from Birmingham, Alabama! Stream one of their songs on the player below. We also have a couple more local acts taking the Bread Stretcher stage for the first time. This includes hard rock grunge group Master Bastard. And opening things up is the alternative / indie-rock group The Little Death.

That’s the show! This starts at 7:00 pm and admission is $5. Check out a facebook event for this one right here. Also be sure to check out our Bread Stretchers shows page for a look at what else we’ve got coming up these next few months.

Tonight at BXS (Bread Slammers): Heavens Die, Shame Spiral, Thirty Nights of Violence, Capitol Offense, Final Order, Brute Force

56938227_2424505720934114_8025882025984524288_nWe have one whopper of a show going on tonight – and “BXS” stands for “Bread X Slammers” by the way, DON’T you EVER go showing up to the old Black Sheep. (And don’t ask us what’s going on with the building either, we don’t know). Tonight we have six bands on one show- three of them being a part of some big touring package. That includes “Heaven’s Die” at the top of the list, an incredibly crushing group from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Stream some of their music on the player below if you dare. Heaven’s Die will be on tour with Shame Spiral also from Virginia playing some powerful deathcore/metal. The third touring act on the bill is “Thirty Nights of Violence” also from Virginia. And as for the locals… we have the first time Capitol Offense from Decatur will be making an appearance at Bread Stretchers. We also have Brute Force from the St. Louis area who performed last in Springfield at one of the final Black Sheep shows.

All of this happens tonight starting at 7:00 pm right on the nose and admission is $7. Check out a facebook event for this one right here. Also be sure to check out our Bread Stretchers shows page for a look at what else is coming up there in the near future.