Early riser: Anne Williams makes mornings musical
If Anne Williams decides to play the lottery, it's likely that nine and one will be among her picks. Those numbers have been significant in her life since her days as a student at Williams College in the '80s.
That's where, like many undergraduates with a passion for music, Williams volunteered at the Williams radio station, WCFM, whose call numbers are 91.1. But unlike other collegiate DJs– who happily rock through their all-night shifts and then just as happily move on to careers in business or law– Williams has happily stayed in broadcasting.
As assistant general manager and host of Acoustic Sunrise, local independent station WNRN's popular morning show, Williams continues the numbers run the station's call numbers are 91.9.
"I'm celebrating 20 years in radio this year," she says, explaining how her college experience morphed into her first paying job– at WUPE in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (95.9). "I always knew I loved it," she says of her time behind the mic, "but I just didn't know I could turn my love of radio into a career."
It was at WVUD in Newark that Williams met her future husband, Drew Minasian. Together they migrated to NPR affiliate WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where her mid-day folk program became the forerunner of Acoustic Sunrise.
Excitement these days at WNRN is two-fold: last week's release of the station's second CD compilation, Station Break 2, and successful expansion into the Lynchburg radio market.
"We've had tremendous response since we turned up the power on 89.9 in Lynchburg last June," Williams says of the station's 2002 decision to focus on the lucrative market down Route 29 south. "The response to our fall fundraiser was extraordinary."
Extraordinary enthusiasm and support also marked creation of the CD. "Forty-three artists and groups liked what we're doing and wanted to be part of this wonderful community project," Williams says of the artists who donated their time and talent to the fundraising effort. "The release parties were two great nights of music, a snapshot of the quality talent in and around Charlottesville."
While acknowledging that the CD project the collection comprises two discs, one "roots" (Williams' bailiwick), the other "rock"– was a lot of work, she admits a third collection is likely.
When that time comes, however, Charlottesville artists will have to share the spotlight with their neighbor musicians to the south.
"I hope this disc is a well-rounded representation of all the kinds of music in the area," she says, "but we didn't investigate the music in the Lynchburg area as much as we will next time.
"When Station Break 3's time is here, we will be looking down there," she says. The odds are probably somewhere around 9-1 that with Williams spearheading the effort, such a joint venture will rock listeners to their roots.