COVER- Savage's beast: How 'The Corner' took a bite of local radio


Although it launched less than a year ago and hired its DJs only 10 months ago, a new Charlottesville radio station has already become nothing short of an airwaves-eating behemoth. Spinning current college rock hits and favorites of the recent past, stitched together by the mantra "different is good," the station– calling itself The Corner– has blasted from startup to #4 in the coveted 25-54 demographic.

WCNR 106.1-FM has grabbed the attention of the national radio industry, too, with a "Station of the Year" nomination from trade publication Radio and Records. And naturally, with such a rapid rise, questions abound about this new beast on the block.

Why has it become a hit across generations? Does it operate on a formula, or does listener feedback really drive the playlists? Didn't Charlottesville already have a station like this one? Just how local is this "Live and Local" station? Is The Corner solely a Saga Communications project, or is there another big local player involved? As with the Mary Shelley tale, the story of this new Frankenstein's monster of local radio begins with its master, a quirky young programming director.

It's alive

At first glance, Brad Savage may not fit the image of monster builder. The 30-year-old Minneapolis native sports a blonde bowl-cut, a toothy grin, and a wardrobe that includes at least one bowling shirt with his first name on it. During just a few minutes of his 10am-3pm weekday shift as disc-jockey, his boundless enthusiasm for music is readily apparent.

He doesn't just know that Canadian indie duo Tegan and Sara are twin sisters; he knows they put their first three albums out on Neil Young's Vapor Records label. He doesn't just know the name of the lead singer for '90s alternative rockers Sponge (Vinnie Dombroski); he knows his hair color (green).

"My style is dorky, and that's the point," says Savage. "It shows respect for the artistry behind the music. That's the mission, really."

That respect for artistry is just what Detroit-based media conglomerate Saga Communications wanted from Savage when the company hired him to be the new programming director of its brand new Charlottesville station. Previously, the Minneapolis native had been a DJ at WQKL in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a station operating under a format radio industry insiders call AAA. It's not an auto club or a baseball league– it stands for adult album alternative.

"The idea," Savage explains, "is that among people who grew up in the '80s and '90s, there's a general consensus about artists like U2, R.E.M., Dave Matthews Band, and Nirvana; then you try to expand on that."

In the case of The Corner, Savage says Saga's market research showed an unfulfilled niche that skewed younger than the classic rock of sister station 97.5, WWWV-FM, but older than the Top 40 of Clear Channel's Hot 101.9-FM.

"The largest amount of feedback was for '80s and '90s alternative from bands ranging from Echo and the Bunnymen, to New Order, to Presidents of the United States of America," says Savage. "If you were in your 20s in 1985 or 1995 and remember these songs, you're in your 30s and 40s now, and those people told us this was what they weren't hearing on the radio."

But Savage, an admitted "indie rock geek," had a feeling his audience could not survive solely on a steady diet of 10-to-20-year-old gems. 

"Technology like iTunes and MySpace has changed the music industry," he says. "Twenty years ago, there were probably 5o or 60 bands you could be safe playing on the radio. Now the Internet has made it possible for there to be 400 to 500 of those bands that people have heard, and that number is growing."

And as the number grows, Savage has had a habit of finding the next big thing that's both hip to the kids and accessible to their parents. Enjoy the classic soul of Al Green and Aretha Franklin? Savage was an early member of the fan club of Amy Winehouse, the 23-year-old Brit whose neo-soul album, Back to Black, has sold over a million copies since its March release. Are the angular riffs and soaring vocals of the Police more your taste? At least a month ago, Savage put Fiction Plane– the band fronted by Sting's son, Joe Sumner– into high rotation. At press time, Fiction Plane's album Left Side of the Brain has popped up on three different Billboard regional "Top Heatseekers" charts. 

"We hope we're doing a good job of introducing people to new artists, so we hope people start identifying these artists as 'Corner' artists," says Savage. "Hopefully, people trust us as a filter for everything that's out there."

The forward-looking playlists have not gone unnoticed in high places.

"They're much earlier to play a new record from bands like [New York chanteuse] Regina Spektor or [Washington state indie rockers] Death Cab for Cutie than even a station in New York or San Francisco," says Bruce Flohr of Charlottesville-based Red Light Management/ATO Records. "They're quickly identifying who their listeners would like, and people seem to be responding to it."

But no matter which songs make it on the air, Savage concedes his biggest and most important challenge continues to be how to brand as local a station owned by a multi-million dollar corporation like Saga. Early on, he got some help from Saga's local operations manager, Rick Daniels, who suggested naming the station for the commercial strip near the University of Virginia.

One of Savage's initiatives has been to take time out of each day to make the listeners the DJ.

"We figured if you personally had a hand in picking the songs, then you would think of it as your station," he says. "There's a general distrust of radio these days, so that was a concept Saga heads had in mind from the beginning."

Savage and company developed two daily listener-driven blocks. At 3pm, Savage spins one listener's personal five "My Corner" playlist, complete with a phoned-in introduction from the listener. Three hours later at 6pm, the DJ opens the phone lines for the "Last Letter Game"– listeners request a song whose title begins with the last letter of the tile of the song playing at the time. According to Savage, the game has become a huge hit.

"On any given three-minute song, we get anywhere from five to 15 calls," he says. 

Further, The Corner has become a champion of myriad local artists whether broadcasting live half-hour acoustic "Corner Lounge" sessions in the studio, or sponsoring a weekly "Live and Local" concert at Wild Wing Café, or putting local artists such as King Wilkie, Sons of Bill, and Acoustic Groove Trio into low rotation.

Savage says he borrowed the idea of promoting local music from fellow Saga AAA station WRSI-FM "The River" in Northampton, Massachusetts (from whom The Corner also cribbed the idea of the "My Corner Playlist" and its "different is good" motto). He says he and his staff are doing everything they can to bring Charlottesville music to the masses.

"There's more good talent here than there should be for a town this small," says Savage. "It's great to play local music, because it stands shoulder to shoulder with everything else we play."

But despite all the airtime for requests and homegrown talent, there are some locals– including those who work for another alternative station– who see all the local branding as the work of carpetbaggers. Or worse.

New rock now?

In 1996, when Mike Friend snared local rights to the 91.9-FM frequency and founded WNRN, he did so with similar ideas of playing alternative music and using knowledgeable volunteer DJs to expose listeners to new artists– all with a decidedly local feel. However, unlike "The Corner," "NRN" started then and remains now a non-profit entity. And instead of overt commercials, it generates revenue by offering advertisers the chance to "underwrite" blocks of music and by semi-annual pledge drives.

In the last 11 years Friend has managed to create a sizable footprint not just in Charlottesville, but also in Lynchburg, Lexington, Richmond, and the Shenandoah Valley. According to Friend, since 2004 when Saga purchased the Charlottesville Radio Group (which includes 97.5, 3WV, Z-95, and WINA-AM), Friend says WNRN has been nothing but a "pain in the a**" to the Midwestern conglomerate.

"We're an annoyance to them because we have a consistently huge audience, and we sell ads for cheap," he says. "Now they get the idea to copy us."

But wait, there's more: "You almost have to give them a sick kind of credit," Friend continues, "like a teacher who's thinking about an awful student who at least has the drive to cheat. It's pathetic."

Indeed, Friend even suggests that the primary reason Saga chose the AAA format is to drive WNRN off the air.

"Commercial radio is about returns to the stockholders, and financially this makes no sense," he says. "The easiest thing to sell in this market is country music, and they could make more money by going after the Clear Channel station [99.7 FM WCYK], which is the #1 station anyway. There's even a movement of talk radio to FM, and they could even make money just moving WINA to FM, because that wouldn't cost them anything. It's not as if the audience for this kind of radio has gotten any bigger." 

To combat the new kids on the block, Friend has excised the word "corner" from his and his DJs' vocabulary– a dictum reinforced by several reminder signs scattered around the studio.

"We don't say the word for any reason," says Friend. "It used to be that we said it eight times an hour because a lot of our underwriters were Corner businesses. But we're not going to be in the business of advertising for a multimillion dollar corporation."

"I don't know this man, I have nothing against him, and this is not a mission to damage his station," says Steve Goldstein, the multimillion dollar corporation's top programmer. "It's smarter and more lucrative to go after something that's unfulfilled," he adds, "and if you saw the market research that we saw, you would have made the same choice."

Perhaps there's room for both: Friend expresses confidence about his station's financial future.

"We haven't seen any drop off," he says. "Last fund drive, we had some of our contributors fill out a form where we asked what other stations they listen to, and there were many for NPR and TJU and 3WV, but out of 189, only two said 'The Corner.'"

Goldstein says that's evidence that The Corner isn't a WNRN knock-off.

"The proof is in the fact that he's done okay," Goldstein says of Friend. "The reason why we wouldn't go after Clear Channel's country station is the same reason why we wouldn't go after WNRN, and we're both doing well."

Still, Friend wonders if the success of The Corner, hasn't gotten by with a little help from its friends, specifically the companies owned by music magnate Coran Capshaw.

"I don't understand what Red Light/ATO thinks they can get with them, but their stuff is all over that station," says Friend. "They advertise and donate money to us, too, but with [The Corner] it smacks of payola or plugola. Nothing on paper, just someone doing someone a favor."

Turning on the (Red) Light

All things new and musical in this town face the same question: Where is Coran Capshaw's hand in this? It's a reasonable query considering that the Dave Matthews Band manager owns at least four music venues– from the Charlottesville Pavilion to his recently folded Starr Hill Music Hall– and has helped to persuade everyone from Eric Clapton to Lyle Lovett to play our little 'ville. 

But in fact, on occasion musicians decide to come to town without any persuasion from Capshaw. For example, the Rolling Stones visit to Scott Stadium in 2005 was the work of Tres Thomas, a local man who just happened to be the director for the Stones' Bigger Bang tour. And until it recently formed an alliance with Capshaw's concert promotion arm, Starr Hill Presents, the same could have been said of Satellite Ballroom, a club near UVA that brought such college rock faves as the Silver Jews and Of Montreal to town.

In the case of The Corner, however, it's the station's playlists that have raised suspicions of a Capshaw connection. For instance, when The Corner launched on September 15, 2006, the first song played was DMB's "Everybody Wake Up," and each night at 9pm, The Corner features a two-song block dubbed "Daily DMB." 

But Savage explains he's simply trying to show some hometown love to its favorite sons.

"It felt like a lot of stations were playing the hits, nobody was playing the deep cuts, the live stuff, the Boyd [Tinsley] solo stuff," says Savage, "so we felt like someone should be doing that in their own hometown."

Beyond the Dave-play, The Corner was one of only 24 stations permitted to broadcast last June from backstage at Bonnaroo, the Tennessee music festival that Capshaw co-owns.

The company responsible for setting up the live broadcasts from Bonnaroo was Music Allies, and their marketing director Zac Altheimer insists they chose The Corner on its own merits.

"We try to limit it to people who will really buy into this; we don't just give it to anyone," he says. "We had other small markets like Columbia, Missouri, Madison, Wisconsin, and Chattanooga,  and we like to put them alongside the big stations."

Asked about the Bonnaroo connection, Red Light/ATO's Flohr won't say his company had a direct hand in it, but he admits, "Red Light has a role in a lot of things that are a gift to Charlottesville."

But most conspicuous of all to Capshaw-Corner conspiracy theorists is the music itself: some of The Corner's most often-played artists are managed by Red Light. For the week of July 22-28 alone, the latest singles from three Red Light artists– Australian jam band John Butler Trio, Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, and funk rockers Robert Randolph and the Family Band– all received 10 or more plays.

"Coran Capshaw does not own the station, though I can see where people get the idea," Savage concedes. "So much of our audience wants to hear the sort of jam band sound, and they happen to have some of the best ones. There's just a lot of listener interest in their artists."

Flohr adamantly denies any secret connections. 

"We send records to them just like we send them to WNRN and 3WV and to stations all over the country," says Flohr. "I can list you many a record we sent The Corner that they haven't played. Every record we sent them that got played deserved to get played, and it did well for them because it was a good record. We can get a record on any station in the country if we work hard enough, but if it doesn't sound good, nobody's going to keep it on the radio."

Even WNRN's Friend says he doesn't believe Capshaw has a monetary stake in The Corner, if only because it violates FCC regulations.

"Saga is a fly-by-night company, but they're not blatantly dishonest," says Friend. "Trying to hide an owner is one of the biggest FCC no-nos there is, and if they got caught, the FCC would consider that 'lack of candor,' and the license for the whole chain would be in question. They could get fined big money. You think it's worth hiding Coran Capshaw for that?"

Fight to the finish?

So how goes the fight between WNRN and The Corner? Since WNRN chooses not to participate in the Arbitron ratings system, there's no numerical way to know for sure. What is known that The Corner is Charlottesville's sixth-ranked FM station, a pretty high ranking less for a station less than a year out of the starting gate.

While Savage concedes there is overlap between his station and WNRN, he says it's the distinction between the two that's caused his station to thrive.

"What WNRN does from 10am to noon is similar to what we do," he says, "but to the average listener, their block programming is confusing. In the morning it's acoustic, and then after noon it's hard rock, and then it's hip-hop at night. With us, being more consistent has brought back listeners who were listening to NRN, but weren't hardcore 'musicheads.'"

For his part, 29-year-old local blogger and media pundit Waldo Jaquith says that's precisely why he's started tuning into The Corner more often.

"I want to support local Charlottesville things, and I've pledged to WNRN before. But I really think WNRN is for people cooler than I am," says Jaquith. "I love discovering new music, but I don't necessarily want to broaden my horizons while I'm going to the grocery store. I know a whole lot of people who grew up in the '80s and '90s who are listening to The Corner because they actually play music we know.

"The turning point for me came a few months ago when they played They Might Be Giants," says Jaquith of the Brooklyn-based duo whose accordion, nutty sound effects, and clever wordplay have brought it to town four times since 1992. "It used to be you could only find that on [UVA station] WTJU, and after the initial excitement I thought, 'Shoot, I guess I'm a demographic now like everyone else.'"

Still, Jaquith calls tuning into The Corner "a guilty pleasure."

"For all I know, they're broadcasting from somewhere in Texas," he says. "I can't stand to hear them call themselves The Corner when there already is one, and hear them say 'Ree-o Road' and 'Stawn-ton.' But I don't want to have to wait for Soundgarden and Pearl Jam to become oldies before I can hear them on the radio."

At age 36,WTJU DJ and Charlottesville music scene veteran Tyler Magill is well within The Corner's age demographic, and he says the difference between WNRN and The Corner isn't that clear to him.

"They seem to be pretty equal in terms of quality, but if I had to pick sides, I'd go local," he says. "NRN has shown that it's possible to do what they do and make money, and, unsurprisingly, a larger company has now come in to try to do the same thing. I hope they can both survive, but I don't think that's possible. It's a shame, but there's no law against that."

However much he likes the music, Jaquith says that in spite of The Corner's idea that "different is good" and the station's stated desire to reflect the community's taste, all of the supposedly eclectic music seems to be meant to appeal to his particular demographic and not the community at large.

"It sounds like they're trying to stick to a very narrow window," says Jaquith. "I'm a hip-hop fan, and I don't know that I've heard any hip-hop on there, even pop hip-hop like Jurassic 5. But then I haven't heard any Gershwin on there either, and I'm a fan of his, too."

While Savage says he's heard positive feedback from listeners of all backgrounds, he doesn't subscribe to the idea that his musical selection excludes anyone.

"I think the intention is to reach as many people as possible, and touching on great soul stuff, which we play every four to six hours or so, makes you think about how great Sly and the Family Stone or James Brown are," he says. "I don't see that as a color line. I think that appeal is pretty universal."

How The Corner will affect WNRN's advertising revenue ultimately remains to be seen, but one advertiser, the boss of the Charlottesville Sports and Social Club, decided that after lower-than-anticipated returns from his NRN underwriting, his money was better spent with the new guys.

"It was kind of a no-brainer," says Social Club founder/owner Chad Day. "We're trying to go after people just out of college and grad students, and listening to the music they [The Corner] play, it seemed like they were going after the same demographic," he says.

"After we started advertising," he continues, "I heard them talking up our leagues on the air, and when you combine that with the promos, we've had a lot of people come to us saying they heard about us on The Corner."

So can the two stations survive? Jaquith says that this seems an awful lot like recent history repeating itself.

"With the new TV stations, the Hook and C-Ville, apparently we have limitless capacity for new media outlets," he says.

But Friend warns NRN fans who also listen to The Corner not to stray for too long.

"Now, when people stop at the stoplight, they have two choices," says Friend. "Realizing entertainment is a selfish choice, people should be careful what they wish for. They may have no choices later."

Brad Savage came to Charlottesville from Minneapolis by way of WQKL in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

As the afternoon drive DJ, Jeff Sweatman presides over the increasingly popular "Last Letter Game." According to Savage, Sweatman gets as many as 15 calls during a three-minute song from listeners trying to make their request the next song.

Early this year, The Corner was quick to jump on the bandwagon of 23-year-old British soul singer Amy Winehouse, whose album Back to Black has since gone platinum.

In light of his new competitor, WNRN's Mike Friend decreed that neither he nor his DJs will even say the word "corner" on the air.

Several artists represented by Coran Capshaw's Red Light Management have been in high rotation on The Corner, though Red Light/ATO executive Bruce Flohr says there's no secret relationship between his company and the station. "We can get a record on any station in the country if we work hard enough, but if it doesn't sound good, nobody's going to keep it on the radio," he says.



I'm the guy quoted in the article at the end, by the way.

If I had to do something similar to a blind taste test, and based on my 2 advertising experiences, had to choose which station was the local one and which was the evil corporate behemoth -- WNRN seemed only interested in my money, whereas The Corner came to me with ideas on working together, how to expand, how to reach the community. WNRN basically said "sign here, give me your credit card info, send us your ad text -- done."

So, obviously, it's not just the music on The Corner I like more (I fall squarely in with Waldo's quotes there, all the way down to the They Might Be Giants), it's things like sponsoring stuff like the 80s prom, the Planned Parenthood benefit. While yes, it's a way for them to get word out about their station to an obvious prime demographic, it's good to see them putting money back into the community and addressing some important issues.

And really, I never faulted WNRN for essentially giving me the cold shoulder .. I'm not a big enough advertiser, and the money I've even spent with The Corner hasn't reached even 4 figures yet. It's the attitude of Mike Friend, which I heard not just from this article, but one Sunday when he was on the air in the summer in kind of a Q&A session, railing against The Corner, calling them a rip-off station, unoriginal, blah blah blah.

Guess what? It's called competition, and you better wake up and start actually competing. WNRN didn't invent alternative rock, so for them to call another alternative station a ripoff, is like the Waffle House calling IHOP unoriginal for serving breakfast.

WNRN may call itself "commercial free" but the second I start hearing their DJs begin the 10-minute spiel about donating during one of their fundraising drives, I change the dial. Those are far more annoying than any commercials.

I don't really care which radio station is locally-owned, nonprofit or "commercial free." I'm one of those people who flips through my pre-programmed buttons idly while sitting at the traffic light, and I stop at the station that's playing the song I most want to hear. In the past 6 months, that's been the Corner more than any other station.

I don't know anything about Mr. Friend besides what this article says, but he comes across as a jerk. Which makes me a lot less sympathetic that he's got competition.

I also suspect that many businesses in the Corner district will be interested to hear that Mr. Friend does not planning on telling people where they are when his names them as a sponsor. Yeah, I know they can still say "located on 14th Street" or whatever, but I imagine just stating "on the Corner" resonates a lot more with their customers.

Well, on your last point Megan, WNRN does have to abide by stricter advertising regulations due to their non-profit status. That's yet another advantage The Corner has, and why WNRN needs to be working harder at competing.

I'm exactly the same way when it comes to radio flipping .. 106.1 is the 1st preset in my car, and 91.9 is the second. More often than not, 91.9 is playing music I don't know, whereas with 106.1, chances are a lot better I'll know the song, which is what their goal is. Like the article states, they are targeting people in the same demographic, but with different musical tastes. Still, Friend seems to take it as a personal insult that another alternative station dare intrude upon his territory, and here we are.

His last quote is laughable .. he basically wants no competition, then tries to warn everyone "hey, you may only have 1 station to listen to ..". I'm sure he's fine if that station happens to be WNRN.

Regardless of how it is classified, WNRN is commercial radio. They break so many FCC rules, it is ludicrous. So anything Mike Friend has to say is Diarrhea of the mouth. That being said, the Corner is just another place for rock music. Nothing more, nothing less. Where I get frustrated with the station is in its handling of non-rock artists and local appearances. While I do not begrudge the artists for doing live spots on the Corner, the station knows nothing about anything outside of rock. So why try and pretend they can do a live spot for a folk or even pfolk (pop-folk) artist? Leave that the people who know something about the music, namely those at WTJU. WNRN's people (including Anne Williams, who does not really do an acoustic program any longer, what with all the U2 and REM type music that shows up on the program) are clueless as well about real folk (and pfolk).

Just my two cents...

I used to resepct WNRN. As a Marketing Professor at UVA's Darden School of Business, I find Mr. Friend's comments to be quite innane. He has the outlook of a 3 year old toddler that resents the attention showered on his new baby sister upon her arrival in the family home.

In reality, Mr. Friend's childish whining is his denial of the very essence of a free market economy. His sense of entitlement is in fact a much greater threat to public broadcasters than that of a well-crafted and strategic radio station like WCNR. If WNRN is to survive, they may be forced to conduct legitimate market research and evolve their program line-up to reflect the tastes of area listeners. An earlier post goes so far as to say that the WNRN sales staff is unsikilled and un-professional. Rather than play the part of the helpless victim, perhaps turning inward would produce greater positive energy.

I am a casual listener of WCNR. I am on the upper end of their demographic, however, one of the things I greatly appreciate about the station is how they embrace community events and causes. I am aware that they are supporting an upcoming event for "Left of Center" with Julian Bond as well as a Special Olympics 10k run fundraiser at my daughters elementary school, Meriwether. From what I can see, the station tuly puts their money where their mouth is. WNRN may even consider approaching WCNR about helping them with their fundraisers and airing commercials to let listeners that enjoy both stations know when WNRN is doing a telethon.

I wish good luck to both stations and may the advertiser and listener marketplace decide the victors!

Gee Mike Friend sure sounds like a cry baby. I mean, it's competition and when you have compettion it's supposed to bring out the best in you, not the worst. Banning the word the Corner? That's silly. Going off about your competition on the air? Dumb. If there really is a battle it sounds like he's already lost it. The truth is that there is a lot of great music out there and both stations can carve out a solid niche in the market. Being positive always takes you to a better place than whining.

Furthering Monty's bit about the causes and stuff .. I got approached by one of the people in my kickball league about sponsoring the 80s prom, the Planned Parenthood benefit, etc. Knowing what a hot topic it is, even though I support their efforts, I decided it would be best from a business perspective to stay away from it.

In hindsight, that was a big mistake and one I regret. But it was nice to see a new station in town, trying to get on it's feet, have the balls to support the causes it believes in. So props to them for that.

I just want to add that I am the Music Director at a radio station in Ann Arbor. In the past week we played Red Light artists John Butler Trio 43 times (4 titles), Rodrigo Y Gabriela 12 times (2 titles) and Robert Randolph 15 times (3 titles). We also featured one Dave Matthews song every hour last Friday for our Feature Artist Friday because of his area concert and new live release. No one at our station has ever even met Coran Capshaw and rarely even talk to Red Light....they're just good records. Red Light just hits there mark with the AAA format. The A&R and scouting folks over at Red Light are really good.

I regularly listen to WNRN as well as the Corner (and, I might add, WWWV), although my radio dial sits on the Corner more and more lately. That may be because I have met Brad Savage and think the young man is a remarkable genius at marketing and is so nice. I see his face when I turn his station on even if the dj is someone else. Of course, if the music were not what I wanted to listen to I would not keep the station on. I also like Anne Williams (at WNRN). She is nice. But her personality is not in the stratisphere like Brad's is. Moreover, Anne has not played local music that much. Brad has championed it. Frequently he has played Naked Puritans, Kate Starr and Hogwaller Ramblers. He has gone to shows at Gravity Lounge, at Satellite Ballroom and a thousand other venues. He pursuaded a sponsor to put local bands on their stage and promote them all week. WNRN has not done so. The Corner does not have a clone station rebroadcasting them in Lynchburg, Richmond, Lexington, and Shendoah (unlike WNRN). Therefore, The Corner's highly publicized rise to the top of the charts in Charlottesville is even more significant. I think it is probably because of the hard work of The Corner workers. I like WNRN and want it to stay on the air. Truthfully, I have heard local bands getting spins on WNRN as well as on WWWV. But not with such dedication as on The Corner, nor as enthusiastically as by Brad Savage. Charlottesville music is truly world class. Radio here should adopt it and champion it. Difference is good but so is competition.

Mike "Friend" really does come across as a bitter, angry man. Surely his higher ups weren't impressed by his less than gracious attitude in this story.

And to the person who said she wasn't sure if she was just "listening to something from Texas". No worries, The Corner is owned by Saga, not Clear Channel. It has a soul.

I can't say that I approve of Mr. Friend's comments or his methods in dealing with the Corner. However, as a follower of some of the, shall we say, less mainstream forms of music, I'm very scared of this competition, if that's what it ends up being. Because, yes, I can get a fair amount of the mainstream programming I hear on WNRN at WCNR (and visa versa - I believe the person who stated that they were "finally" able to hear They Might Be Giants, Sound Garden, and Pearl Jam on the radio has obviously never actually listened to NRN, as the station regularly plays all three artists). But what about NRN's specialty programs? Where else can I go in town for the best in Goth, Industrial, Punk, Ska, Metal, and Electronica? Most of the Corner's shows are canned and not very enjoyable. And what are the local artists in those genres, who have been able to seriously thrive thanks to WNRN (The Dawning and the Cville Goth Scene have heavily benefited from "Subculture Shock" and "The Core," for instance) going to do if the station is driven out by a financial giant who has the backing to make that possible? The idea that Local Music is confined only to those artists whose sound can be tied to local artists that came before them is stagnant and frightening. And although media competition can be healthy for cities large enough to support it, I'm not sure Charlottesville is one of those cities, and thus it may end up hurting our city more in the process.

ditto the mike friend comments.

I stopped listening to NRN when John Hill left.

Mike Friend's sanctimonious whining is indeed pathetic. I attended UVA from 2002-2006 and I loved easing off my hangovers with the grateful dead show and late to work, and listening to the boombox coming home from the library. However, I've always thought that the programming on NRN from noon to 8 is a disaster-- about one third of the songs they play are unlistenable. So, my advice to NRN is quite simple: If you want The Corner to take less of a bite out of your market share, stop sucking. The less I hear Godsmack and Staind when I'm driving back from work, the less I'll change the channel. Simple, really.

I'm a music programmer for a community-run station in Minneapolis, KFAI-FM. Been in radio since 1986, been at KFAI since 1997.

I first ran into Brad Savage in 1999, when he was the program director of a tiny AM station in the Minneapolis suburbs, KSMM. My specialty show played lots of pop oddities, and Brad's station also played lots of pop oddities, but at no point did either one feel like an imitation of the other.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Brad's unequaled sense of musical taste, to the point where I routinely had him on as a guest host of my own show. He, in turn, was extremely generous with his own airwaves, to the point where he let me program and host an entire 8-hour Saturday afternoon on his station.

Brad Savage would be the first to say that there's always room on the airwaves for another intelligent voice playing good music. I'll be the first to say that Charlottesville is lucky to have Brad Savage on the air - I've been in radio for almost 21 years, and out of all the commercial-radio people I've ever encountered, he'd be the first person I'd hire to run a radio station.

To Mr. Friend: Brad is doing what he's always done, and doing it as well as ever. If you're having trouble with competition, maybe you should make your own station sound better.

Ron Gerber
host of "Crap From The Past" since 1992

There are times when specialty programming like hip hop or some other genre may be playing on NRN and someone doesn't like it and will switch to the Corner. There are also going to be times when someone feels the Corner is too repetitive and will look for something different on NRN. Specialty genre shows are important for a public station. Familiarity is important to a commercial station. They can both co-exsist and do well.

But the rule is - when faced with competition, you strengthen what you do and focus on making yourself better - not wasting your time trashing your opponent. It sounds like Mike Friend does not have experience dealing competition.

I know Brad and he has that experience and has been on the winning and losing side - he knows how to handle himself. He stays positive and one important thing he is doing there that he did here in Ann Arbor, is not surpressing the music geek he is or the music geeks that work for him.

Do you know how many times consultants and corporate programmers told me that there is no room for musicheads on the radio? Ever wonder why radio got so stale? Commercial stations like the Corner are bringing musicheads (but not music snobs) back into the radio mix - and it works.

I like The Corner, and sometimes NRN. What I can't stand is WWWV in the morning. I saw that they got a "Best of" award for their morning show.

It is the same crap over and over again with these morning show guys. They aren't funny, they use the same, stupid phrases continually, yo' aish', "right there" just ridiculous. Mike Friend may be acting like a toddler by hating the competition, but if you want to hear real childish radio -- listen to WWWV in the morning.

Omigod- it's biker cop from around the GLOBE!!

I wanted to post and acknowledge the comments posted here.

I am glad to see tremendous passion for radio in Charlottesville. In many cities, excitement about radio is waning due to new technology and delivery options, and a "ho-hum" programming approach from the "big stations".

There is very real passion and respect for the music we play on The Corner. That excitement is evident across the entire team. The Hook's article centers on my vision for WCNR as Program Director. But 106-1 The Corner is not about me. Thanks to the passion, hard work and dedication of Tad, Jeff, Melissa, and Jaclyn, we have made quite a splash in our first year on-the-air.

For what it's worth, I personally encourage coexistence with WNRN (and all the other stations in the market, commercial or noncommercial). It's not "us versus them" and our goal has never to been to eliminate WNRN from the airwaves. I enjoy a lot of their programming, especially George Bell's "Les Temps Per Due" show. Our whole staff supports noncommercial radio, and most of us have experience on-air and behind the scenes with public, noncomm, and college stations. Our mere existence should never cause WNRN to go "off the air", and I think there's enough difference between the two stations to allow both to thrive. I believe we're talking about different kinds of listeners, although certainly there is some overlap (especially at certain times of day). And WNRN just held their most successful pledge drive in their history, so kudos to them.

Competition is a good thing, and we're working hard to prove our worth each day. We owe a tremendous thank you to Corner listeners for our initial success, and now our task is to live up to it and continue providing compelling content on-the-air. All listeners are invited to contact me directly with feedback, music requests, or questions about 106-1 The Corner. Thanks for listening!

I suspected this story would generate some comments! I like both NRN and the Corner--they are my two non-NPR/classical music presets and I flip back and forth between 91.9 and 106.1 depending on what's playing.

I try to have positive feelings about Mike Friend because I do like NRN so much, but then he shoots off his mouth again and all my effort is undone. He seems so wrapped up in the politics of which station you listen to (the local v. corporate debate), and he sneers at you if all you really care about is who has the songs you want to listen to. Though I hope NRN continues to do well, I do think his persona and his approach, which seems to consist of haranguing people if their politics are not in order, isn't a winning strategy.

I basically stopped listening to NRN because when they do play new music they rarely identify the artist. I hear a song I like and then wait for the break to hear the DJ identify the last few songs and....nothing. I even had their phone number programmed into my cell phone so I could call them and ask for the name of the artist. But I hate talking on the cell phone while driving, so I stopped that.

I gradually (not intentionally) found myself listening to 106.1 more because when they do play new artists/music, they are sure to identify them.

It may be a small point, but that's how NRN lost one listener.

And, I hate to say it, but Mike Friend is just......odd. Anyone who knows anyone who has worked at NRN has heard stories about his odd behavior. He does nothing in this article to refute that and only emphasizes it.

Keep in mind that WNRN for all of it's positives, DOES have that condescending, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou "feel" to it that turns people off of public radio in general.
True, commercial radio tends to adopt a "dumbed down" and "sales-focused." pandering approach, that can be just as unnerving. I realize that any commercial station HAS to generate positive cash flow for it's ownership, but there is a strong tendency to push that to the limit, or often past the limit! If "The Corner" can avoid those pitfalls, and stick to doing good radio, and playing good music, they have a bright future! If they fall into any of those traps, especially at the expense of good radio, they're hosed, and so is Charlottesville!

Also keep in mind that rock is NOT high art, it can be poetry, but it does not need to be! It's the music of the people! if they keep that in mind that will help!

There is ONE BIG DIFFERENCE between WNRN and The Corner. WNRN has a VERY LOW OVERHEAD,which means that managment is not under constant pressure to generate profits to maintain the bloated salaries of lazy upper level corporate executives who could give a rat's rear about what's going on in flippin' Charlottesville and also, they don't have to get approval from a plethora of upper level corporate consultants in New York, Los Angeles or godf knows what other remote city to play a record, if it's a good song, they simply play it, Period. AND , they can music-wise go "out the box", IE, if they get something that's "outside the box " on the Corner, like an intresting hip-hop, folk, modern rock , or an intresting oldie or odditie that everybody forgot about, be it on a 45 or an LP or CD, they'll play it. C'mon Savage, who are you fooling ? I've had friends who work for Saga in other markets, you're just as "Corporatized" as Clear Channel , CBS , and Radio One. You KNOW that you'd better follow the "Corporate mandate" of your superiors or they'll blame YOU for any ratings reduction. WNRN has built a DEEP SOLID LOCAL BASE of hard core loyal listeners who arer not fooled by your "attempt" to be "different". What's going on with the "spurt" of big ratings is what we call in radio "sampling". Anytime you get a new station doing anything, you will have this flood of listeners who will flock to examine what the station is doing and will give them elevated ratings, then, after a few rating periods, the listeners will either return to the original station they were listening to before, or stay with the new operation. AND, since the Corner is a commercal radio operation, they wlll be AAA as long as it makes money. BUT, a station's format life is sometimes only as strong as the managment that believes in it . Two examples, back in 1994 in Richmond, ABS Communications, led by by a collection of music loving radio executives, flipped hig powered but failing country station WKIK to Modern Rock WBZU "The Buzz " and they were happy with the results. But, even after the Buzz moved to the more localized 106.5 frequency,( which had been a failing AAA station WVGO, eventual ownership & managment attrition eliminated all the local executives who signed on, maintained , and believed in WBZU's Modern Rock format, being replaced by purely profit driven managers. With the old ABS crew out of the way, new owners Capstar flipped WBZU to Oldies as Cool 106.5 and according to what then General manager Steve McCall told the Richomd Times Dispatch, "Cool 106.5 made for money in the first week that tnhe Biuzz made in it's first month. "

In Philedelphia, there had been Y100, a very successful modern rock station. When they were purchased by minority owned Radio One, the debt laden company saw that the station was profitable, so even though it was not a black programmed station , they left it a alone, ...for a few years. But as Radio One got more succesful with black formats in other markets , they finally had a reason to blow up Y100 and flip it to a black format.

I believe that the Corner will have a limited life because it is a commercial radio station. But when n they finally fall, WNRN will still be around , because the ONE BIG DIFFERENCE between The Corner & WNRN , the corner is a FORMAT !!! WNRN has a MISSION. Figure it out.

I’ve worked at WNRN as the Operations Manager for a little over a year now, and for what it’s worth I have a few comments about what’s been said thus far. Mike is not a bad guy, he’s in a bad situation and a lot of what was said in this article was taken out of context. Think of it like this, you own a small coffee shop in a place that everyone said a coffee shop wouldn’t work, and when you become successful Starbucks comes in and builds another coffee shop right across the street from you. WNRN is something Mike started and has run for more then 10 years now, and some multi million dollar company comes in and says “oh well now we’re doing this format too”

The Corner isn’t a bad station, especially if you compare it to other corporate stations in markets like DC or Richmond, and I nor anyone else who works for WNRN, has any ill feelings toward the staff of the Corner. In fact sometimes while I’m on the air at night I call up 106.1 and chat with Jaclyn for a while, taking that in to account, I’d like to bring up that Mr. Savage’s comments about being a fan of WNRN and “Les Temps Perdue with George Bell” caught me off guard because if he was in fact a fan of the show he would be aware that George left the station almost 6 months ago and Patrick Allen has been the host since George left.

Chad Day is a man who came in and spent I believe $60 bucks here one time several years ago. I’m sorry that he feels like we didn’t take care of him, however when you have a 4 person staff like we do, it’s not possible to give every client the attention that a big company like Saga can who has dedicated sales staff. Personally I do what I can to keep my clients happy and to make sure they are taken care of, and I don’t think one person who spent $60 with us a number of years ago is an accurate representation of client satisfaction.

I truly think this feud between the two stations is unnecessary and childish. I hope that the corner does survive and can co-exist with us and we can both get over these name calling contests. I’m an avid listener especially on my way home from work while we’re running the Boombox and I know since they have come on the air our donations have actually gone up and our last fund drive was our most successful ever bringing in $94,000. And they are running plenty of commercials so it seems that they’re doing well too. So I wish the corner and all the staff the best of luck, keep up the good work!

In response to this:
"I basically stopped listening to NRN because when they do play new music they rarely identify the artist. I hear a song I like and then wait for the break to hear the DJ identify the last few songs and....nothing."
You must be thinking of another station. At WNRN we back announce every single song we play with both the title and artist. Always have.
That's all. Carry on.


Actually, it was about $250, and was back in the winter, not 'several years ago' .. as we've only been around 1 year to begin with. Even when I was just exchanging services with The Corner, they were far more interested in what I was trying to do and finding ways to work together. The ideas I approached WNRN with, such as charity dodgeball tournaments and such, were promptly refused.

As for Mike's comments being taken out of context, I don't believe it for a second. Not after I heard him in that Q&A session on the air, which came off as horribly unprofessional and whiny -- just like he did in the article. I doubt it's a coincidence.

In the winter the Corner didn't have much advertising [if any--they were just beginning to sell ads. I know they were ad-free during our fundraiser at the end of September], so it's no great surprise that they were interested in your business, Chad. And not that we weren't, but we were nearly sold out at the time when you approached us, and couldn't give you the immediate service they could.

At least you're getting tons of free publicity now.

I can't stand WNRN's 10pm-midnight hip-hop programming. And it's eveeeery freakin' night! I have nothing against the music, it's just that why does it have to be every night? And at such a good time when I'd love to listen to the radio? Don't they get any complaints about this, or they simply don't care? I don't get it. Then starts some different programming after midnight! Too late, they have good programs, but it's when I'm sleeping.

I think Charlottesville needs both radio stations by the way.

Does anyone else find it ironic that they had to BORROW the phrase "different is good"??? Appearantly, they also had to borrow the idea of playing local music.

I am so sick of hearing how "different" the Corner is, when it is really the same stuff that is pumped out all over the country. I laugh when I hear the commercial that says "When we say 'Different is good', we mean we'll play anything from The Cure to REM." Can someone please show me a station that plays The Cure that doesn't also play REM?

The Corner is not a bad station, and certainly fills in many gaps that WNRN is missing. But their "Look how different we are" marketing makes them almost too obnoxious to listen to. They are like one of those McDonalds restaurants that sets up in an old house to blend in to the rest of the neighborhood. They may look local, but they just want to make money by serving the same stuff as they do to the rest of the world.

I think they are a pretty good station even if they are part of a radio chain. I have heard them playing everything from Joy Division to The Pixies to some song about "The Revolution Can Not Be Televised" that must be from the 1960's that I have never heard. They appear to be pushing some boundaries at least and compared to the stations when I lived in Richmond they are way better. They may play a lot of expected stuff like Jack Johnson, Fray, or John Mayer but I can tell they know music. Today for example they had Ben Kweller doing a "My Corner Lounge".

To me they overdo the local music, they have too many local bands on-air that aren't even that great. I bet they are trying to promote live music which is good but I think it is unneccesary to play all the bands they do. But I like The Corner overall, it is good to see them here.

Two letters: XM

Wow - what an interesting thread! Tim from WNRN, I may be wrong but it sure seems that the "name calling contest" is one-sided - I haven't seen or heard the first hint of animosity from The Corner, but certainly plenty from the WNRN management. If this is a pissing contest, the urine seems to be flying in one direction only. Lighten up - nobody said running a community radio station would be easy, dude!

Speaking of which, if The Corner truly wanted to get NRN off the air, all they'd need to do is record about a weeks' worth of airtime, highlight the pertinent FCC underwriting violations (including some spicy language that sneaks into their playlist once in a while), and send it along to the Feds. I doubt WNRN could absorb the fines.

Mike Friend even said himself: "We're an annoyance to them because we have a consistently huge audience, and we sell ads for cheap." Community radio can't sell, market, or air ads, and the fact that he thinks of his underwriting as "ads" speaks volumes and explains some of the things you might hear when WNRN announcers are promoting their underwriters way on the other side of the line the FCC drew regarding such things. There's a reason why the underwriting announcements on NPR, PBS, and even local community station WTJU are almost unbearably boring: they have to be. The statements are limited to just the facts, no embellishments (You can say that Prince Michel Vineyards makes wine, but you can't say whether it's any good or not), and the number of mentions per hour is limited by FCC mandate.

Now back to the music. The stations don't play the same music, in the same way that CBS, NBC, and AMC don't show the same programs. The definitions of "rock," "college rock," "alternative rock," and "modern rock" are so open to debate it's not even funny. And even if they played the same music, so what? People will listen to the one that meets their needs, and businesses will fund the stations that meet theirs. That's the way it works. It's not about loyalty, community spirit, or any flavor of altruism. It's about numbers, dollars, ears, and lead generation. Give me that, you'll get my ad dollars - and I don't care if it's a tiny struggling non-profit radio station or Exxon-Mobil.

Ad dollars are hard to get, and results are even harder to prove. So I'm going to spend where I think there's the best shot at seeing a decent ROI.

Every interview I've read with Mike Friend he comes across as a very very angry man with a big ol' streak of paranoia and seems like he treats everybody with contempt. As Lincoln said, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Now am I likely to send my limited ad dollars that way, or to the station run like a business that CAN deliver what my ad dollars demand?

Okay, can I just point out that between Encyclopedia, Ronda, and Tim Davis, the problems with NRN's take-the-community-for-granted attitude are made glaringly manifest? Minimizing Chad Day's business/contribution to NRN (Tim, I think you forgot to add the word "measly" before "60 bucks")--how cool is that? And Ronda with "hey, at least you're getting loads of publicity now"--yeah, Chad, thank NRN for that, you cheapskate ingrate!

And--God help us--Encyclopedia's extended didactic lesson, straight from the hipster-insider-aficionado on how corporate radio don't get it, do you? Most listeners do not care. I know, I know, they should--if they were better people they would. But they aren't. You and Mike and Ronda are all really really really into this stuff, but most listeners aren't. And that's our Achilles' heel, IMO. That's why you continue to sound so holier-than-thou.

I worked in radio a good 20 years ago and am glad I'm out of it but I know a bit more than the average layperson. I remember when the "Buzz" was in Richmond, area jocks were encouraged not to use the word buzz in any context on the air. It's also standard practice for stations to give the number closest to their frequency when giving temperatures (ie: if you work for 3WV, you'd say it was 93 or 97 degrees instead of 95 or 99 degrees).

In that same vein, Mike Friend has every right not to want his jocks to say "the Corner" on the air. Why? Because the Arbitron game dictates how radio stations play ball. Why do you think big prizes are usually given away on Thursdays during ratings periods? Why do you think most crappy or niche programming is pushed to after 10p.m.?

It's all about what people write down in their ratings diary. If someone writes "I listen to Brad Savage every day on WNRN!!!" the only station that is going to get credit for that listenership is WNRN.

That being said, Mike Friend needs to spend less time railing against the competition and more time reviewing what his station does, how his jocks sound, making sure he's playing the right music and making sure WNRN is the best it can be.

And The Corner needs to remember that every new station has 2-3 solid books out the chute and then the real numbers set in. Seems to me that Country 99.7 and 3WV have had solid ratings success consistently for 15 or more years. The people that program those stations deserve just as much credit if not more for keeping them at the top of the ratings heap all these years. I've never seen the Hook or C-ville do a cover story on 3WV and they've been consistently playing rock n'roll in this town for over 25 years.

I am proud to be one of the djs for the Corner. There are only a few of us that work hard at it, and I am happy that everyone is enjoying what we do. I came to Charlottesville for this job and I love it here. I am grateful to get to do my daily Live and Local feature in a place where I have so many options to choose, from what I feel are a pretty amazing group of talented local musicians. I care about radio, and I care that there are people fighting to keep it a reliable source of great music.

When I came here I had heard nothing but great things about NRN, and have said nothing but good things about NRN myself. Anne, Mike, Tim, Jaz, Rhonda, and all of their devoted volunteers’ voices are as familiar to me as Brad, Jeff, Tad and Melissa’s are. I thoroughly enjoy my talks with Tim Davis, and love scrambling to my car at the end of the night to catch the end of the Boombox, and I always enjoy tuning in to hear Anne in the morning.

I think a little competition is healthy, but I think nobody gains when it gets into choosing sides. Isn’t this a town full of people with great taste in music? I was so picky when I was trying to decide to where to find a new radio job, and I thought if any town this size could support a new station like ours, this one could. I want nothing but success for NRN, and for them to continue to play the music that so many people, including myself, enjoy so much. We may work for different people and different companies, but we are music fans first and foremost, and I think that is important to keep in mind. That being said, I look to NRN as a group of people that clearly love music in the same way that I do- we want to share it with everyone.

Discuss format tastes all day, but please don't pshaw so quickly at the value of NRN's community orientation. It is not just about snobbishness or Charlottesville's heavy crunchy ego. I want to point out another role that WNRN provides to the community. I came to Charlottesville as a grad student, and really fell in love with the NRN format. I loved the community aspect, and eventually became a volunteer, and have worked at the station for a while on the news staff. My work was weak at the beginning, but NRN stuck with me and I think its gotten better over time. I feel like I've learned a whole new skill, and I really appreciate that. The Corner would never have let me on the air.

What a read! Who knew that our little burg could have so much drama over radio. As someone in the music biz locally, I think we are damn lucky to have so many fine stations. WTJU is the granddaddy, WNRN, WCNR, and even our local NPR's all offer great radio. Try flipping the dial up in NoVA or down at the beach and find quality programming- it doesn't exist! We have it so good here.

That said, we also have some healthy competition among all of our stations. Some take the high road and one consistently takes the low road. From my early years, I have been a generous donor to WTJU and I started to support WNRN when they came along. If you all remember, several years back WNRN turned their anger on WTJU for being UVA affiliated. They have been that way for 50 years but somehow that pissed someone off at WNRN and the name-calling started. That year during their fund drive, I called and said I would have pledged but I couldn't stand them attacking one of my favorite stations.

Now the petty anger and name-calling is being redirected to WCNR. Jeezy weezy- give it a break with your whining and just play good music. There will always be other stations, whether local or corporate owned, for-profit of non-profit. Focus on what you play and I think the music fans of C'ville will find you if it's good. I can guarantee I won't listen to a station that spends its time taking potshots at others.

Tim, you and I well know that NRN and WCNR are not the same format. If you bothered for just a moment you would realize this. For all the math majors out there, Modern Rock (NRN most of the time) and AAA (Adult Album Alternative WCNR) have overlaps. The same overlaps will exists with a AAA station and top 40 station as well. Prime example here, the black white tees. I think I need not say anymore about some people's lack of knowledge. And there is no need to defend Mr. Friend at NRN. To his right, he has done a fanastic job to build something incredible to the area, however what is unavoidable are the words he said. I am certain that the writer of the cover article of this edition of the hook is an intelligent journalist and has appropriate notes and tape recordings. No matter how bad a situation is for someone personally, business is business and you are doing a fantastic job of sinking yourself. You Mike, were dead before the ship even sank. The Corner is not a challenge, a copy, a cheat. The Corner is an idea, embracing, from I know of radio, the people of the Corner district. The people who go to bodos for their bagels and starbucks for their morning jolt of coffee or to the white spot for the best drunk cure ever.

Be careful of shooting yourself in the foot for you will have nothing left to stand on.

Watch ye therefore for ye not know when the master of the house cometh. Mark 13:35

I love how Mike Friend couldn't put his real name on his comment, but other staff members at his station could.

If someone wanted a really good story, they'd get some people who worked with him in his TJU days to talk about his strange behavior.

Anyway, I think there's plenty of room for NRN and CNR in this market. NRN's fund drive totals show that they have nothing to be so upset about.

Hey Folks,

We had a pretty good discussion that WNRN participated in about 2 months ago. It would probably add a lot of depth to this discussion....

Brad Savage does not have a radio voice. He sounds like a total goof ball. Yet does a great job... stay behind the scenes!

Its terrible!

I thought it was a prank the first time I heard him! Is he for real?

Brad - Congratulations from the Slop and Crap Krewes. 97.7 again this year?

1530 Out!

Folks in Charlottesville should consider themselves very lucky to have Brad Savage programming a station there. I don't know brad personally, but am very aware of his total dedication to music. He's also about as non-corporate a person as you'll find. Brad'll do everything in his power to continue to deliver quality's his's his passion.

Hello everyone. The roses, the lovely notes, the dining and dancing are all welcome and splendid. But when the Godiva is gone, the gift of real love is having someone who'll go the distance with you. Someone who, when the wedding day limo breaks down, is willing to share a seat on the bus.
I am from Iceland and too poorly know English, please tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "As you can probably imagine, every country in europe has at least one major international airport if not several."

With best wishes :(, Hy.