Earlier this year, Hillsborough’s community radio station WHUP retooled their bi-annual “begathon” into a 50-50 fundraiser split with service workers who’d been cut loose by restaurants, at the onset of the pandemic.
The event was a success: WHUP was able to raise enough to keep station transmitters running, and to donate $5,000 to local service workers. Restaurants have cautiously resumed service, giving workers more options, but WHUP decided to continue the 50-50 tradition for its fall fundraiser, this time splitting proceeds with another hard-hit demographic: musicians.
“There are a lot of people out there who are having a real hard time, whose livelihood was dependent, in part, on live performance,” WHUP president Bob Burtman told the INDY. “That’s just something that—whether or not you make a living full-time as a musician, or even part-time—is your bread and butter.”
The fundraising week kicked off on Sunday, and will continue through Sunday, October 18. 50 percent of proceeds will go to the Orange County Arts Support Fund, which has a fund set up for arts workers made hard-up by the pandemic. In total, that fund has provided $57,850 to 98 artist grants and 9 organization grants in Orange County.
“As a community radio station with an emphasis on local music, WHUP has an obligation to help the people who are the heart and soul of our thriving music scene–and a large part of the reason we exist–make it through to the other side,” a press release for the station noted.
WHUP is also launching a massive digital North Carolina music collection and will stream more than 70 hours of that collection throughout the week. The collection, which Burtman characterizes as a labor of love, was several years in the making, with station DJs donating nights and weekends to the careful process of ripping vinyls and CDs and digitizing them.
Earlier this year, the Chapel Hill Public Library also launched a digital streaming service, Tracks, which helps localize the streaming experience and gives artists a boost.
True to the expansive, scrappy spirit of North Carolina music, WHUP’s collection includes samples from a broad range of genres—from jazz to country music, and bluegrass to indie-rock—and includes songs from North Carolina legends as well as artists who’ve only ever recorded one song.
Donations to the station can be made here, and WHUP’s fundraising program schedule found here.
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