For 20 years this year, I’ve been involved with WMPG-FM and WMPG.org, a small community radio station situated on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine. Part of WMPG’s funds come through the University, part of the funds come through underwriting, but most of the funds happen courtesy of listener support. Twice a year, WMPG holds a pledge drive to help with the daily operating budget that’s lovingly called the Begathon.
The Begathon has been privy to some interesting ways to raise money over the years, including a “man on the street” approach – asking for money outside the station while on the air, some folks playing crap songs to get people to donate so the good music can come back on the air (though I don’t think that’s been done for awhile), and one longtime DJ even set his sideburns on fire to get pledges, though with his wildly popular Saturday rockabilly show, he usually doesn’t have problems with lack of pledges.
For STUCK IN THE 80s’ 15th anniversary show, I had my hair cut on the air, buzzed in the back to read “WMPG.” It was one of the best Begathons I ever had. Oddly enough, I don’t have a picture of that, but I do have one from that night with former radio neighbor Lars getting ready to chop off my hair with some lawn shears. I was scared! (he didn’t really…)
Tonight (3.20.2016) could be my last Begathon show at WMPG, as I plan right now to end the show on August 28. For many of my Begathon shows through tonight, The Flying Lizards have been a part of it.
“Money (That’s What I Want)” was originally a 1959 hit for Barrett Strong, co-written by Motown Records founder Barry Gordy and covered by The Beatles in 1963.
The Flying Lizards’ 1979 New Wave cover of “Money” was a Top 10 hit in Canada, New Zealand, and their U.K. homeland, plus it reached the Top 40 in five other countries. Here in the U.S., “Money” spent a week at No. 50 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in January 1980, and reached No. 22 on the BILLBOARD Dance chart.
For me, in addition to being a cool cover song, The Flying Lizards’ version of “Money (That’s What I Want)” has been a part of STUCK IN THE 80s for a long time. And, if it helps raise some money to support the radio station I’ve called a second home for 20 years, then yeah, that’s what I want…
If you’re interested in learning more about WMPG community radio, go to WMPG.org, and if you’re interested in supporting WMPG, you can make a safe donation online via PayPal, with my thanks. Tell them Ron sent you!