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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Night Lights: 25 Reasons To Give $25

I started Night Lights because I felt driven to do a show about some of jazz's most exciting artists & times--sounds & stories that can continue with your help.

WFIU

Photo: WFIU

WFIU

Like many other public radio stations – like many organizations and people everywhere – WFIU, the station that produces Night Lights every week, is facing some difficult challenges this year. Recently we learned that we would not be receiving our scheduled quarterly allocation from the state government. (Read the Station Manager’s udpate about our funding cut.)

That’s a significant setback in our already-budgeted current fiscal year. We have worked diligently to cut costs wherever we can without affecting the services that we provide to our listeners; Night Lights is something we provide and want to continue to provide to you every week.

Night Lights Is For You

I’m asking listeners around the world to support Night Lights with a contribution of $25, the Cool Cat level on our contribution page. If you want to give at the $40 Jazz Messenger or $60 Hipster Saint level, you can take pleasure in knowing you’ve helped Night Lights move that much closer to our goal of raising $500 in the next week. (Plus, we’ll send you a snazzy WFIU night-light, and/or a Blue Note jazz CD.)

Whatever you give, any amount will be appreciated and will help the program and the station make up for our lost 2008-09 state funding. It will also go to show that jazz programming like Night Lights is a valuable part of public radio.

25 Reasons To Support Night Lights With A Gift Of $25 Or More:

  1. Night Lights is a labor of love. Your support it is not something I treat trivially; it is an acknowledgement, profoundly felt, that my love for creating, writing, and hosting the program each week, in order to share this music with listeners around the world, is not enough; I also need you.
  2. Year-round cool and classic jazz for less than the cost of a month of cable TV.
  3. Jazz history shouldn’t be a mystery. Some Americans think Louis Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.
  4. You are supporting the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and many other jazz greats. You are acting as a keeper of the flame for this great and beautiful art.
  5. Historian Michael McGerr writes: “Night Lights does a really good job of blending really interesting music, some of which I’ve never heard before, with a fresh and vivid sense of what American culture was like during a really fascinating and turbulent time. There’s no program like Night Lights anywhere else in the country.”
  6. As a wise man named Hank Mobley once said, “This I dig of you.” If you dig,  do.
  7. Wall Street asked for $700 billion and you didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt
  8. [Insert your favorite Night Lights show here.]
  9. As a wise man named Charlie Parker once said, “Now’s the time.” Our fiscal year ends on June 30 and we are trying to close a gap that threatens to reduce or remove future programming efforts. Many listeners have been giving an extra bit to help; now I’m asking you to help by casting a financial vote of support for Night Lights and jazz radio.
  10. You’re not just going to stand by and let this show be replaced by Jazz in the Key of G, are you?
  11. You can count on hearing great jazz artists such as Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter, alongside lesser-known but also worthy musicians such as the lost-legend trumpeter Sonny Berman and pianist-composer Duke Pearson, who played such an important part in crafting the Blue Note record label’s sound of the 1960s. You can count on hearing interesting, in-depth programs about jazz and the kinds of roles it’s played in American culture, like Jazz and Jack Kerouac or the show about Voice of America DJ Willis Conover and his role in the Cold War. You can count on shows that explore different chapters of a jazz artist’s career, like the recent program about the last recordings of pianist Sonny Clark. You can count on accessible, well-researched and diligently-prepared programs that appeal to both jazz lovers and those just getting into the music.
  12. Your $25 will help us to continue sending Night Lights all around the world every single week.
  13. I’ll never curse you and threaten to leave the country if you try to take my picture.
  14. No loud, annoying commercials beseeching you to buy spray-on bed liners.
  15. A wise man named Charles Mingus might have shouted at you, “$25 for wide-ranging classic-jazz radio? Man, that is some kind of insane bargain…give these cats some bread!”
  16. Budget cutbacks could force me to vocally “recreate” classic jazz tracks instead… Bee-do-bee-do-bop, bop-bop-DEE!
  17. As a wise man named Duke Ellington liked to say, “We love you madly.” You are a crucial part of what goes on here – whether it’s e-mailing program suggestions, commenting on shows and blog posts, sending Night Lights links to friends and fellow jazz fans, or simply listening however often you listen. Your past contributions and notes of support have done much to get the show to where it is now. The program can not only survive, but thrive with your help.
  18. If you missed pledging last November during fund-drive, here’s the perfect opportunity to end the sleepless nights, drawn-shade days, and agonizing, life-crippling bouts of guilt you’ve been experiencing ever since.
  19. I’ll never try to sell you an extended auto warranty.
  20. A fellow DJ once commented to me, “I wish our public radio stations played musicians like Charles Tolliver and Sun Ra!” I’ve been given the creative freedom to program Night Lights in a way that allows me to feature artists who might be considered a bit too edgy, obscure, or ‘out there’ for prime-time radio. I’ve been able to do that in large part because of the support that you’ve shown for the program.
  21. $25 = less than 50 cents a week = cheaper than a single mp3 track.
  22. Free SuperSaver shipping!
  23. As a wise man named Thelonious Monk once said, “I Mean You.” Without you, this program wouldn’t exist. Public radio wouldn’t exist. Seriously. With your support, we can overcome lost state funding and other challenges. But without your support, no amount of outside funding could keep Night Lights and other public radio programs on the air.
  24. You’ve quite possibly spent more than $25 on Kind of Blue reissues alone.
  25. People talk a lot about jazz being one of “America’s greatest cultural contributions,” but you know what? It really is. The hype’s all true, folks…I believe in the music and I know that you, in one stage or another, to one degree or another, believe in it too, as a source of joy, infinite discovery, and a perpetually cool means of connection with art, life and history. Your support keeps the knowledge and the love growing and going.

That’s All, Folks

My goal over the next week is to raise $500. If you want to give but can’t quite afford $25, give whatever amount you feel comfortable with; support of any kind is so helpful. At the end I’d like to thank those who contribute here on the website, but if you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s absolutely fine. I won’t publish anybody’s name or city without their permission.

Support Night Lights, and thanks for helping to keep public radio on the air.

David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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