Saturday, February 13, 2010

WWOZ: Thirty Years of "Bringing New Orleans Music to the Universe"

By Wade Luquet

In a small office just off of the main studio, music director Scott Borne sits among stacks of boxes containing 25,000 CD's with a machine that picks up a CD from a stack, copies it and then digitizes it. The music from that CD will now be safely housed on a server in the second floor studio and offices of public radio station WWOZ located in an historic building on the river in New Orleans. Just in case, the digital version of all 250,000 songs will have a copy on a server well outside of the city. The staff and volunteers nearly learned a tough lesson in 2005 when the breaks in the faulty federal levees after Hurricane Katrina left their Treme neighborhood under water. WWOZ was lucky: only some minor roof damage, less than a foot of water, and some tower damage. The music collection was in tact and their equipment was mostly undamaged. The station went back on the air as web-only "WWOZ in Exile" out of a radio station in New Jersey within a week, and was able to open a broadcast studio in Baton Rouge by October.

By December 2005, four months after the flooding, they were back on the air in their present studios in the French Quarter. For many, WWOZ coming back on the air was one more step for New Orleans returning to its "new normal."

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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