Radiothon goes live

The 13th annual Radiothon featured celebrity guests and student voices.

Emily Wong

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January 13 and 14, WNTH 88.1 hosted its 13th annual radiothon in an effort to raise funding for the station, featuring guests like Louis the Child, Rebecca Black, and Jared Haibon from The Bachelorette.

Every DJ is expected to choose someone who can give an engaging interview that will encourage listeners to tune in.

The Radiothon was first started in 2005 by the WNTH board, who founded the tradition of hosting a fourteen hour-long broadcast in which they interviewed various local and public figures. They then donated all the proceeds to an organization for the 2004 Indian Earthquake and Tsunami.

To pay for the station to run, all WNTH members used to have to raise money by selling citrus.

In recent years, the board decided to change the  Radiothon to the station’s main fundraiser, deciding that the event was more relevant to radio.

However, relying on money raised during the Radiothon can be stressful.

In 2015, they raised only $2300 despite having many well-known, exciting guests. In order to outdo their last performance, the board decided that marketing needed to be a focus for this year’s broadcast.

“It took months of planning,” senior board member Ben McCormick said. “Especially rounding up all the DJs and acquiring interviews from various famous and important people.”

“It’s up to them to find someone noteworthy,” McCormick said.

Each show takes their own approach to this task. While some might decide to contact the star of an old television show, others may find a more local celebrity.

Senior Jackie Manchester, a DJ on the WNTH show “Pecan Pie,” decided to interview her own dad.

“He owns a candy store, so we thought it’d be cool to talk about that. It’s like being a kid in a candy store, but that’s your job,” she said.

Other shows followed the same idea and stayed close to home in finding an interview.


Senior Adam Clemmitt, from the radio show “Funk Trunk,” decided to interview New Trier’s Nathan Landes. “Our show chose to interview a New Trier music teacher because we wanted to learn more about the people behind our music program,” Clemmitt said.

Other DJs were excited to converse with a better-known public figure.

Senior Katie Shia, from the show “TMI,” interviewed youtuber and singer Rebecca Black.

“We tried to think of someone very reachable but also someone who would be well-known enough that people would tune in and donate,” Shia said. “She has a really great taste in music, so we thought it’d be great to share her interview with listeners.”

Even without a connection to Black, Shia said that reaching out to her was easier than expected. “She had her manager’s email in her bio on Youtube, so we emailed him,” Shia said.

Although each interview aired for at least 20 minutes, most DJs didn’t seem too concerned about having questions to fill up the time.

“Rather than having a large list of questions prepared beforehand, we were more interested in starting a conversation about all kinds of music and seeing where it took us,” Clemmitt said about his show’s interview with Landes.

Manchester used a similar strategy for her own interview.

“We had some questions set, like, ‘What’s it like?’ or ‘What’s your bestseller?’ Other than that, it was just a conversation,” she said.

With all of WNTH radio’s efforts, they reached their goal to raise more than last year.

“Radiothon was very successful this year,” McCormick said. “We proved that we can raise enough money with one event to not need the citrus sale.”

They ended up raising over $5000, which is much needed funding for the program.

“This money goes toward equipment repairs, like new mics, a new soundboard, and hopefully an upgrade to the very, very slow automation computer,” McCormick said.

WNTH members are excited that radio will be able to continue to broadcast to the school.

“It gives students a chance to publicly discuss what they’re interested in outside of academics,” Clemmitt said.