WPRB is beyond floored by the outpouring of generosity you’ve shown towards this project! All items we initially asked for have now been donated by listeners just like you, so thank you for showing such enthusiasm for the Barge studio project. Presently, we’re reassessing our budget and may issue a secondary list of needed items for those of you who may still wish to help. If and when that happens, we’ll announce it on our homepage and social media channels. Thank you again for being the best listeners any community radio station could ever hope for!
Looking back from the falsely reassuring plateau of February 2023, I’m in awe of how well WPRB weathered the early years of the pandemic. An unfortunate number of peer stations were shuttered for months at the expense of listeners, donors, and institutional memory. But when WPRB went into lockdown back in March of 2020 (thus temporarily suspending live programming), we got right to work on devising a remote broadcasting plan which would allow our programmers to make live radio from home. With the entire world seemingly in freefall, I was very skeptical that our plan would ever work… but I’ve never been happier to have been wrong. The emergency response we rolled out that first pandemic summer was a raging success and is what allowed WPRB to keep thoughtfully responsive radio booming into your lives during the pre-vax era.
Fast forward to September of 2021, when our campus-based facilities here in Princeton were re-opened to students, but not our community staff. Community has always been in our hearts at WPRB, so with new access policies threatening to hinder the station you’ve come to know and love, we took the ambitious step of occupying an auxiliary office and studio space elsewhere in town. We still think of our campus digs as the WPRB mothership — it’s where our fabled record library still resides, after all. But these new facilities will get the remaining WPRB programmers who are still broadcasting from home back into a proper studio outfitted with real equipment (instead of the rat’s nest of laptops, karaoke mics, lawnmowers, and treadmills which were pressed into service by Covid.)
The new space, which we have christened “The Barge” (a nod to the offshore pirate stations which took advantage of 1960s Maritime law to illegally blast music across England) is presently being readied for broadcast, and we hope to begin testing things out in March. Soon thereafter, we’ll begin welcoming our displaced staff into their new broadcasting home to make radio the way it was meant to be made. And while the difference may be transparent to most listeners, I can tell you that our staff is overjoyed by the idea of making radio in a shared space again. Community radio isn’t just a bunch of misfits and weirdos all operating in isolation from one another — having a shared space that encourages creative collaboration is a bedrock principle that animates our staff, and inspires them to make the kind of radio you deserve. We never would’ve considered taking this crazy leap if you, the extended family of WPRB listeners and donors, hadn’t made it so clear that you believe in our programming. So thank you for having our backs.
That said, building a broadcast studio is terrifyingly expensive, and the biggest challenge we face with this project is staying on budget. We’re not asking for money to help complete the Barge studio, but there are some items which, if you are able to donate, would go a long way towards keeping our costs under control. In return for your generosity, we will label any donated items with your preferred name as a way of permanently honoring your support for this new chapter in WPRB’s history. (I.E. “The Listener Hanna Turntable”, “The Listener Ameena Mic Stand”, etc.) You’ll be helping WPRB’s Barge studio set sail towards a brighter future, and our DJs will have a daily reminder that it’s listeners like you who first inspired us to find our sea legs for the long journey ahead. Thank you for keeping us in mind this year. Here’s a list of items we can use.
THE WISH LIST:
1. One Odyssey turntable flight case like these: https://tinyurl.com/WPRBflightcases. As is the case with all sea-faring radio studios, the Barge’s creaky old wooden floors don’t lend themselves to great turntable stability. So positioning them in shock-absorbent flight cases will greatly improve their performance. Are you a former DJ with a pair of flight cases you’d like to donate to WPRB? This alone could save us several hundred dollars. (Used or new, either is fine.) UPDATE! Two generous listeners have already flight cases. 2. Acoustic foam soundproofing panels. In the interest of being good neighbors, we need high quality soundproofing panels to help absorb the excessive volume which is implicit in our work. Here are the type we need: https://tinyurl.com/WPRBsoundproof (New panels are preferred, but used ones would be considered as long as they come from a smoke- and pet-free environment and are in good shape.) 3. A pair of Shure MV7 microphones. The pandemic created an unanticipated interest in podcasting, DIY radio, and other forms of home recording — the result of which is short supply and high demand for quality microphones. A donation of one (or two!) of these mics will take a nice bite out of our costs. https://tinyurl.com/WPRBmics (New only.) UPDATE! Purchased! 4. Never Mind The Earbuds, Here’s The Headphones (which we desperately need in order to keep our DJs earholes comfortably ensconced.) Headphones will also help keep the sound of construction vehicles, rowdy passers-by, and crashing spy balloons from distracting our programmers. https://tinyurl.com/WPRBheadphones (New only.) UPDATE! A gracious listener has donated a set of headphones!
5. And finally, from the long-shot-but-it-never-hurts-to-ask department: We need a pair of Audio Technica AT-LP120 turntables for the Barge. They are perfectly serviceable clones of the DJ standard Technics 1200s, and should provide years of quality service to even the fattest-fingered and most accident-prone DJs among us. That said, they have jumped more than $100 in price over the last two years, and now comprise a big-ticket line item on our budget. Your donation of one or two of these turntables would not only bring down our costs, but also deliver countless hours of analog joy and musical discovery to listeners around the world. (New preferred, but used will be considered.) And as long as we’re talking turntables, building up our reserve stash of Ortofon DJ cartridges like these would also be a big help! https://tinyurl.com/WPRBneedles (New only.) UPDATE! Both turntables and cartridges have all been purchased. Incredible!
If you are interested in donating any of these items to us, or would like to discuss making another type of material donation to the Barge project, please contact Mike Lupica at 609-460-9488 or email mike [at] wprb [dot] com. WPRB is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and can provide a receipt for your tax-deductible donation of material goods.