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After spring drive, concert, radio station airs new ideas

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Following the success of last year’s sold-out Joni Mitchell tribute concert and this year’s popular Beatles tribute, KPTZ-FM’s Tim Quackenbush is hoping to organize more events that bring the community together and support the local nonprofit radio station – in addition to the annual birthday tribute show held in early May.

“I would like to produce a few concerts per year, so that we can have fun while we’re fundraising,” the KPTZ concert producer said of the possibility of adding a late summer or fall concert.

He hasn’t nailed down any details yet – “It’s in the planning stages,” he said – but it’s something he’s considering while basking in the afterglow of the local Beatlemania that filled Wheeler Theater the first weekend of May.

BROUGHT TO TEARS

“The feedback has been really good,” Quackenbush said of the tribute concert. “I had one person come up to me and say it was better than watching the [actual] Beatles.”

The benefit event for the community radio station, featuring 29 Beatles songs interpreted by local musicians, brought some to tears, Quackenbush said.

Along with community devotees, the concert drew some out-of-towners, including Bob and Susan Rowan of Puyallup, who regularly visit Port Townsend. “We were just here for the day – we actually just stumbled upon it,” said Bob Rowan. (The couple happened to park next to Quackenbush at Fort Worden.)

“Port Townsend is our favorite town in all of Washington – it has been for a couple of years,” Rowan said. “It’s a different type of place,” and the concert, too, was unique. “I’d never been to anything like it before.”

“We tried to make it into a show,” said Quackenbush. “I had screamers planted in the audience.”

RADIO FUNDING

The Beatles concert, which took place in the week of KPTZ’s sixth anniversary, was also a celebratory culmination of the community radio’s annual spring membership drive, which took place May 1-6.

That drive went well, board president Robert Ambrose said. The total came in just shy of its $25,000 goal by a couple of hundred dollars.

“Our spring drive did significantly better than our fall drive and relatively similar to [last year’s] drive,” Ambrose said.

And while they haven’t noticed any major decrease in funding yet, the station is aware that it’s going to become increasingly more difficult to keep going.

“A lot of the nonprofits are having a hard time this year,” Quackenbush said, noting that so many people have been contributing to national causes that they’re forgetting about the nonprofits closer to home.

AT HOME

Coming home happened to be the theme of the spring drive. “What we noticed in talking to people around the community is that [they’re] tuned into other stations for some programming,” Ambrose said. “We are going to bring in some of those programs [to KPTZ].”

Based on that idea, the title for the spring drive was “Come Home to KPTZ.”

While the programming schedule is still in the planning stages and more details are to be released at a later date, two of the shows the station is set to air soon are “Truth, Politics and Power” and “Democracy Now!” Ambrose said.

Ambrose also noted that, along with Quackenbush, he’s considering the idea of adding another concert. “At KPTZ, we need to diversify our funding,” he said. “Community radio is pretty precarious.”

Right now, he’s thankful for the support the station received from the community this spring.

“At a time when radio listening is falling, it showed me that we still have a lot of community support.”

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