Well, here we are: one week after Sharathon, and beginning to return to normal. The first few days after Share usually feel a little overwhelming, because we've got so much to do that it's hard to figure out exactly where to start!
If you're wondering where your faith promise and giveaway gifts are, well, we're working on it! Everything has been pulled off the prize shelf, and labels typed, and Don and Shirley Chagle spent several hours this week fitting everything in to envelopes. They're all now piled up (in still more boxes), waiting to be carted to the Post Office in Haubstadt. We're hoping that the clerk there will forgive us sometime within the next decade for having to undertake the task of calculating and printing postage for it all! The faith promise gifts are a little more complicated (bulk mailing requirements have me rather baffled), but we hope to have those out by next week. So be looking for your book and/or CD to arrive soon in a mail box near you!
The other big post-Share task is the faith promise audit, performed each year by Susan Turner and yours truly. Although I can say with confidence that our Sharathon Data Entry volunteer is a meticulous worker (I have, after all, had nearly 29 years of personal experience with her), things can get a little hectic during certain periods of Sharathon, and occasionally information is entered incorrectly. Susan and I are responsible for combing through all 1,278 donor forms to check for double entries, mis-typed amounts ("$300 single gift instead of $300 per month? Whoops."), creatively spelled last names, and other such minor issues. This task nearly puts me in a coma, but I am happy to say that we are completely done with it now - thank goodness! Now that everything is as correct as we know how to make it, we can get started on printing out faith promise thank-you letters and the gift labels.
So now that we've had a fairly productive work week, we are all ready to relax a little this weekend. My plans include attending the Steven Curtis Chapman/Bethany Dillon/Sanctus Real concert at the Centre on Saturday night - oh, and congrats to our ticket giveaway winners this week! As always, keep an eye on things here at thyword.org for more information, updates and contests as we move forward into our new fiscal year!
Okay, just kidding. Well, not kidding about the complete blur part, but we probably need a little more content here. We're closing in on 9:00 PM right now, and my brain is starting to shut down, so this may be a little random!
Don Chagle is chasing after the Donna Leland's kids, as they have discovered his private chocolate-chip-cookies-with-PEE-cans stash. The volunteers in Telephone Central are sharing their life stories in between answering phone calls. Floyd, John and Steve are doing their best to encourage the last minute procrastinators to phone in their faith promises so that we can meet another match. I am downing yet another can of Diet Coke to keep myself going. It's been a good night!
One of the coolest parts of Sharathon is that it feels like a big family reunion. We get to see many of our old friends about once a year, so it's great to get a chance to catch up. There are several families that stop by with their kids, and it's amazing to see how much they've all grown year after year. For me, it's literally a family affair, since both my mom and my dad have joined us today. Mom has been doing data entry, and Dad came in after work to answer phones, so I had a rare opportunity to eat dinner with them both.
It's been a busy day on the phones - I think I counted 69 calls between 4-5:00 PM! I'm not sure if it was the matching fund, or the free Adventures in Odyssey CDs we were offering to each new faith promise, but we love hours like that. All total, we've heard from 1,214 of our listeners - thanks for letting us know about your support for Christian radio for the Tri-State!
And now we're off to celebrate the end of another great Sharathon - we'll have to do this again next year!
Some of you may be interested to know the real Donna Leland. She says she is planning a new career in writing Southern Gospel music. We (Marilyn Barton and I) were treated to her latest demo on Tuesday night. Now if we only had this on tape or video, she might win "America's Got Talent" contest! Should we let Moody Broadcast Network in on her hidden talent?
Whew! This day has gone by quickly! I sat down to start this blog earlier in the afternoon, but when I turned around it was time for the Church Roll Call. So I tried again, and next thing I knew, I had to set things up for our 4:00 Adventures in Odyssey Trivia Quiz. So here I am again, with a few minutes to spare - let's see if I can make it happen this time. (This may require eating and typing at the same time, so please forgive any mistakes or splatters!)
Tuesday tends to move a little slower in the mornings, so we all fill in the time between phone calls with catching up on paper work, or with each other. If you've ever wondered what "radio people" talk about when they're not on the air, topics of conversation today have included: pets, children/grandchildren, Creationism and the Grand Canyon, football scores, the weather, industry news and the spiritual implications of Disney's High School Musical 2. Oh - and the two chocolate chess pies that were brought in for lunch.
Tuesday afternoon means Church Roll Call. This hour of radio entertainment is generally a great illustration for the term "controlled chaos." You've got 6 people crammed into Telephone Central answering phone calls as quickly as possible, someone moving between that room and the tallying table, two people tallying call totals, one person running tally sheets to the studio and them bringing them back to the main room, and two more people alphabetizing and stacking the tally slips. It gets a little wild, but it is without a doubt one of the two busiest hours of the entire Sharathon! We couldn't possibly pull it off without our volunteers, so if you were one of them, THANK YOU! And congratulations to our two winning churches: Harvest Community Fellowship Church of Washington, Ind. (Pastor Maury Brenneman) and Lighthouse Christian Church of Somerville, Ind. (Pastor Danny Caldwell).
And now it's time to set up for our 7:00 PM Southern Gospel contest, so I must leave off. We hope you've enjoyed listening so far, and thanks for joining us as we've been celebrating "Giving Unto the Lord!"
Here we are, approximately halfway through the first day of Sharathon 2007. So far, so good!
Our offices are normally pretty empty, since we have a staff of five that is in and out all the time. This changes drastically during the three days of Sharathon - we've got dozens of people coming through the building all day. It makes for a great change of pace! Our volunteers are faithfully staffing Telephone Central - we've got several of our "regulars" who come back every year, as well as quite a few "newbies" who are enjoying their time here. During slower hours, everyone jumps to attention whenever the phone rings, eager to get a chance to talk to one of our listeners! They've all got a script of sorts that they work through as they talk to each caller, but once they get comfortable with their task, many will put their own twist on it and take a few minutes to chat with the listener on the other end of the line. It's this personal touch that brings many of them back year after year.
Our special guest hosts, all on-air talent from the Moody Broadcasting Network in Chicago, have made it safely to Evansville, with John Hayden the last to arrive when his flight came in at 8 AM today. John and Donna Leland are old friends who are returning to our studios once again. Steve Hiller is the "new guy" where our Sharathon is concerned, but he's a radio veteran and seems to be having a great time, fitting in well with our team. You'll hear quite a bit from all three of them over the next few days, and we know you'll enjoy getting to know them as well as we have here at the station.
As the days go on, we'll try to update with some snapshots of all the people and goings-on here at the studio. You can check them out in our Photo Archives.
Here in the office, it is The Calm Before the Storm. Our list of things to do before Sharathon begins has slowly been ticked off.
Thank-you gifts labeled and packaged? Check. (Stuff Billy's studio nearly to the ceiling with said boxes so that no one can see out the window? Check.)
Set up the database and start totaling pre-Sharathon gifts? Check.
Plan meals for 50+ people every day, plus buy junk - er, snack food? Check.
Sort through giveaways sent by our programmers and figure out what will be given out when? Check.
Rearrange and clean entire building in preparation for Monday? ... Well, we're getting there!
And those are just some of the tasks that must be accomplished every year before we kick things off bright and early on Monday morning. I'm not sure how it happens, but every year we (and by "we," I mostly mean, Susan Turner: Sharathon Super Woman) manage to get it all done! We hope that you plan to join us as we kick things off at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, September 10. We're excited to see all the ways that God's people have found to "Give Unto the Lord!"
By the way, work on the new WBHW tower outside Washington still goes on. Despite a few setbacks, it is nearing completion. We've added some new photos to our WBHW Upgrade Project album - take a few seconds to check out the progress!
It's been a very busy past couple of weeks here at Thy Word Network! We've had to get ready for our Golf Scramble and Sharathon, and we're still in the middle of the WBHW tower project.
If you were to walk into our offices right now, you'd really have to watch your step! We seem to be in the process of accumulating boxes. We've got boxes of radio equipment, boxes of books, boxes of CDs, boxes of boxes and envelopes, boxes of food and drinks, and boxes of miscellaneous giveaway prizes. They're stacked up against every wall and in the middle of the room and on just about every available flat surface. Navigating the room requires some serious bob-and-weave maneuvering! Everything has to be taken out of said boxes, labeled, stuffed into a mailer and then put back in the boxes in preparation for Sharathon. We're not sure where we're going to put everything once we run out of wall space, but we'll come up with something!
Last week, here in the office, we were trying to prepare for the Golf Scramble and attempting to get a handle on the list of things we need to take care of before Sharathon begins (surrounded by boxes). It had gotten so hot in the transmitter building at the current WBHW site that the A/C couldn't keep up, and so it just gave up. This, of course, shut down the equipment, and knocked WBHW off the air. Floyd got to spend Wednesday morning installing a new air conditioner, and then he headed to the new tower site to start on some things that needed to be done there. In the middle of all this, the FCC decided to make a surprise inspection visit to make sure that all of our records and equipment were in order for WBJW (they were). So we cleared a space amidst all the boxes, and did our best to accomodate him. Floyd then completed his day by driving from Washington to Albion to help complete the WBJW inspection. It seems that if it's not one thing, it will always be another!
Most of our staff was out of the office on Friday to help with the Golf Scramble at Cambridge Golf Club. It was hot, but a fun break from "the usual". I got to spend my morning riding around in the beverage cart, passing out drinks and snacks and taking pictures (which you can see here). This required putting my life in Bill Turner's hands, as he did all the driving. The boy is a good driver, but when he gets in a golf cart, he acknowledges only one speed: Pedal To The Floor. At least this created a good breeze.
This week, Susan and I are attempting to plow on through Sharathon preparations while Floyd, Rick and Bill work at the new tower site to build a transmitter building. So far all is going well, but we always appreciate your prayers for this ministry as we strive to move forward. Sharathon is just a few short weeks away, and we're looking forward to seeing all of our volunteers and visitors. Give us a call at (800) 264-5550 if you'd like to come up and help out September 10, 11 or 12th!
We hope to be back with more behind-the-scenes information soon! (Assuming we're not wholly swallowed up by boxes first ...)