A3Radio needs new home,
downtown Ann Arbor site to be vacated soon
Posted by Jordan Miller | Ann Arbor News July 11, 2008 09:52AM
Categories: Breaking News
Warren Kress, left, and Tom Saunders create tags for some of the programs on AnnArborAlive.com, (A3 Radio) at their studio in downtown Ann Arbor. The station will be moving from its spot at the corner of Main and Liberty streets and is looking for a new home.
As Ann Arbor Alive Radio prepares to leave its studio in the top floor of the Hutzel Building, so ends 65 years of music played from the southeast corner of Main and Liberty streets.
The community radio station, which is broadcast via the Internet, has been on the air since 2002. But the space that it occupies was once the home of WPAG, the proving ground for several well-known local radio personalities, including Lucy Ann Lance and Michigan Broadcast Hall of Fame member Ted Heusel, from 1945 to 1989.
A3Radio's programming focuses heavily on local music, but it airs a variety of music and public service programming as well. The studio itself has also functioned as a gathering place for local musicians, who have gotten together there regularly to play since 1992.
A3 founder and director Jim "Griff" Griffin said the station will stay on the air, and that the all-volunteer staff is looking for a new space.
They are leaving the studio because they can no longer afford the downtown rent, said A3 sales and marketing manager Tom Saunders. Ann Arbor Alive is a nonprofit organization, but A3Radio is a commercial station.
"The reality of it is that revenues are down, costs are up," Saunders said. "That's not only our problem, I mean everybody is faced with the same situation. With Pfizer leaving, it affected everybody. ... The same amount of people, or more, are chasing fewer dollars, so that makes it tough."
In celebration of their time there, A3 is hosting a Farewell Open House today from 5 to 11 p.m. They will serve refreshments, and some of the local musicians who have frequented the station will entertain.
"If you're running around trying to pay the rent and you worry about that, you're not having the fun that we've had for the last seven years," editorial and content director Warren "Nearly Normal" Kress said on the air Wednesday.
Griffin founded the station because he was looking for a way to advance the local music scene. When he first came into the studio in 1992, WPAG had been purchased by Tom Monahan, and most of the equipment had been moved out to Domino Farms to create WPZA: Radio Pizza.
Griffin formed Ann Arbor Alive, a community organization, and A3Radio later grew out of that. A3 has been involved in a number of community projects, including an online Web portal, Internet broadcasting and distance learning at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. They are currently working with Huron High School to create a pilot student-run radio station - WRAT, River Rat Radio. If that program is successful, Griffin said, it will likely be implemented across the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
"We're not going away," Saunders said on the air Wednesday, "we're just moving. So we invite you to stay tuned because, whatever this is, we have lots and lots more of it."
Listen to A3Radio at http://www.annarboralive.com/.
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