S.O.S. (Save Our Station), Keep the magic alive!

by Fred Sowder, WGOT Volunteer

It was the summer of 1989. I had just started classes at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. The truth of the matter was that I was really there to be a part of its college radio station, WVUM. It was a magical time for music. Nirvana had yet to hit it big and local Miami bands like Nuclear Valdez and The Mavericks showed great promise. The radio station there had wall-to-wall live hosts 24 hours a day. To the point, in fact, that I wasn’t able to get a show on my own until November of that year.

The rest is history. From seeing bands like Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and Green Day in small Miami Beach clubs to keeping the station on the air in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, I eventually managed the station and was there for four years that I will always cherish. I later moved to Gainesville to go to graduate school. I was sorely disappointed to find out there wasn’t a college radio station here. About 20 years ago, opportunity arose to help rectify that problem and WGOT was born at 94.7FM. 

After a few years of planning, an eventual frequency change, and over 16 years on the air, WGOT at 100.1FM is at a crossroads and could really use your help. Originally, I had one newborn child when WGOT first went on the air. I now have two young adults in high school. This largely means I can no longer put in the time I once did to keep WGOT a vibrant and crucial part of independent media in Gainesville. It makes me sad since there are so many talented musicians and others that truly deserve exposure on our airwaves. Many of our longtime volunteers are in similar situations.

Besides our constant appeals for donations from loyal listeners and local businesses, we are especially in need of volunteers. Although we have a studio in the Civic Media Center, most of the station’s day to day operations happen remotely and you can make a big impact by helping us. Likewise, if you’ve always wanted to start your own podcast, we have the facilities to make that a reality. You can easily turn it into a radio show with only minor tweaking. 

To that end, we’d like to invite you to our open house on Saturday, April 20th from 10am to noon at the Civic Media Center. We’re looking for creatives of all kinds as well as those who want to have a voice in what kind of programming WGOT offers. Like all media, WGOT needs to grow and evolve. The only other option is extinction, which would be a really unfortunate denouement for WGOT. Here’s to many more years of independent community radio in Gainesville. Its future is now up to you. Thank you.

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