A NEW YEARS EVE NOTE FROM TONY LAWSON

2019 started with many challenges. The first one occurred on Christmas Eve in 2018 when our offices flooded in the Subterranean basement offices of the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. In addition to the flood the General Manager was recovering from surgery and we were doing a job search for a new Operations Manager/Development Director. That seems like a couple of years ago now that all these things occurred. We quickly put our sorrows behind us and moved forward.

The additions of Anne Williams as Operations Manager/Development Director and Steve Gulley as the host of Rize N Shine added much needed energy and organization to WDVX in early 2019. Marketing and Development grew in 2019 with the addition of Diane Shannon and Michelle Long. Improved organization and implementation of volunteers and interns provided much needed help with events, fundraising and content creation.

Listener support helped WDVX revamp the “WDVX Camper”. WDVX made many new friends at all of the events we were part of. Tom and Anne Costello, new residents of East Tennessee began volunteering for WDVX and they now head up the “Camper Crew”. The “WDVX Camper” made it to the Summer Sessions in Oak Ridge and to the Fall Festival in Townsend. We plan to have it out and about at many events in East Tennessee in 2020.

WDVX and ORNL Federal Credit Union teamed up for the second year of “Summer Sessions” in Oak Ridge at Bissell Park. Over 7,000 folks attended the series of free shows that included Ricky Skaggs, Molly Tuttle, The Traveling McCoury’s, Steve Gulley, Alex Leach, Jim Lauderdale and Circus No 9. WDVX  and ORNL FCU will team up once again to present “Summer Sessions” in 2020. WDVX will be back in Oak Ridge in early 2020 with “The Secret City Radio Show”. We will  have more information soon.

WDVX launched “The Big Plate.. Live from Barley’s” in 2019. This is the Friday “Blue Plate Special”. At the same time WDVX launched “WordStream”.. The Weekly Writer’s  Voice” performance and recorded podcast at the Knoxville Visitor’s Center every Friday at noon. WDVX plans to offer more content through podcasts in 2020.

WDVX listeners made it possible to upgrade our WDVX website in 2019. We are working on the upgrade right now and should launch early in 2020. The new website will feature our new streaming player that will present classic archived performances from many shows and festivals. We will also offer audio and video content, including podcasts unique to East Tennessee music and culture. WDVX listeners made it possible to replace our aging computers and add new video and audio editing programs in 2019.

In December 2019 WDVX launched “The Clinch River Breakdown’ live from the Museum of Appalachia. The show featured Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show and Molly Tuttle with the Museum of Appalachia band and host Steve Gulley. This was a special night with a sold out house. “The Clinch River Breakdown” live radio show will continue in 2020. Thanks to the Norris Community Foundation and the East Tennessee Foundation for supporting this special series.

We look forward to working throughout the region in 2020 to produce more real, live programming. The Spring and Fall Festivals in Townsend, Louie Bluie in Caryville, Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC, Big Ears in Knoxville, Dollywood, Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass in Sevierville and more.

We look forward to continuing and improving our long running live shows “The WDVX Blue Plate Special”, “Tennessee Shines”, “First Friday Live”, “Kidstuff”, “The Six O’Clock Swerve” and more. We look forward to offering programming on demand. Archived programming you can watch or listen to when you want to made available through our new website and streaming player. Click here to view Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi’s set on the WDVX Blue Plate Special, recorded live in the midst of the Big Ears Festival in March 2019. We are excited to present this gem from our archives as a just a small preview of what is to come from East Tennessee’s Own WDVX in 2020.

Thanks to everyone who attended a WDVX event, volunteered to help with events, phones, office stuff, on air and more. The effort of the WDVX staff and volunteers in 2019 rose to another level. We look forward to taking things to a new height in 2020. We know we can do it with the support of East Tennessee’s Own listeners, businesses, volunteers and contributors!

Happy New Year!!!
Tony Lawson
12/31/19

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