From WTMD’s General Manager and Program Director Scott Mullins:
What an extraordinary few weeks this has been. I hope that you and your family are safe at home and keeping your sanity as we all face many challenges in adjusting to this new work-life situation.
WTMD has also had to adjust and adapt to this new reality, and it started on March 12 when we suspended our spring fund drive and directed nearly all our staff to work from home. We immediately made programming changes and additions to better serve our listeners during this unprecedented upheaval and to “shorten the distance in social distancing.”
Those changes include:
- Immediately increased the frequency of NPR news headlines to the top of each hour from 6 am to 6pm, weekdays.
- Reprogrammed our HD2 channel, which had formerly been all Baltimore music 24/7. We wanted to do something for the parents with kids out of school and stuck at home. So we programmed the mornings, 6am-12noon, with rebroadcasts of our very popular family show “Young at Heart with Lisa Mathews.” From noon to midnight, we programmed archived editions of our extremely popular “Weasel’s Wild Weekend” with legendary radio host/musicologist Jonathan “Weasel” Gilbert. Weasel is celebrating 50 years on the air in the DC/Baltimore area, the last 10 of which has been here on WTMD. These changes run 7 days a week on our HD2. Listener response has been very, very positive with many listeners telling us that they keep it on all day and that the mornings with “Young at Heart” has been a real gift for them and their kids.
- Created a new feature called “A Sound Prescription.” Listeners submit a list of songs that they turn to for comfort during times of stress. Songs that they love and want to share with others during these uncertain times. Three times a day, once each air-shift, we play a three-song set from one listener and send it out as our “Sound Prescription,” to help with stress relief, cabin fever, etc.
- Introduced a new feature called “Home School.” Every weekday in the 10am hour, midday host Sam Gallant calls class to session and as “Professor” Sam, introduces a set of music about various topics such as math, geography, science, biology, etc. For example, a recent topic was science and Professor Sam played “The Sound of Science” – Beastie Boys, “Show Me How This Thing Works” – Cracker, and “Stuck On You” – Josh Ritter. This plays off of the schools being closed and allows for some out-of-the-ordinary song sets.
- We also launched WTMD’s “Cabin Fever Concerts.” This is our way to extend our support of Baltimore musicians who have taken a huge hit to their income with all public performances cancelled for the next few months, at least. Each Cabin Fever Concert is a live performance from the home of the artist. Musicians will also give us a look into their living and creative space by showing us things like “What’s in Your Refrigerator,” or sharing a favorite recipe or mixing up a cocktail, in addition to a music performance. We will also give the artists’ paypal and/or venmo information so that listeners/viewers can give them some support. This series is on Facebook, with additional social media promotion via twitter and instagram.
We have also, in general, loosened up the request line in order to generate more of a two-way line of communication with listeners. The jocks will take requests and read listener comments on the air. This has helped create a real intimate atmosphere and sense of community. The number to call is 410-704-8936.
These new features are in addition to our regular features such as The 5 O’clock Shadow, Friday Feature Presentation, Power Pop Tart, Live Lunch and many others.
Throughout this crisis, WTMD has continued, uninterrupted, to be your companion and refuge from the stress of the non-stop news of the day.