The Radio Station and the Landfill

russsaysgoI sat down to lunch at Russ’ Restaurant, a West Michigan chain known for inexpensive dishes and geriatric customers. Opposite me sat Mr. Rog Peuler, ad salesman for WFUR, a radio station known for classic hymns and geriatric listeners. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was new to the role of marketing at Baker Book House, but I was familiar with the music of WFUR because of my history as music buyer for the bookstore. The only thing I knew for sure was that the majority of the music played on the station at the time was long out-of-print. So whenever a customer would come in and ask for something they heard on WFUR, my stock response was, “I’ll look it up for you, but I probably won’t be able to order it. Let’s check.”

wfur_history4I was listening to his pitch (which is the true cost of a free lunch) as he told me the history of the station. The call letters signified that the AM station was for Furniture City, a name from when Grand Rapids was known throughout the world for the many furniture companies located here. And while we do still have a few furniture factories around, the title has not stuck with our grand metropolis. I wasn’t surprised that the call letters were as outdated as the music selection.

But then he told me something fascinating. The station’s owner got the land for the radio tower extremely cheap because it was sat on top of a landfill. But that thrifty move benefited the station far more than simply saving a few pennies. The buried metal from the landfill acted as a signal booster for the ground-based AM radio station, greatly amplifying their signal beyond what the height of their radio tower could otherwise achieve. With a favorable wind, the station could be heard from as far away as Chicago and parts of Wisconsin.

As I write, I think about the radio station and the landfill. Were it not for the garbage buried below, the message would not have gone very far. If not for the garbage in my life, my history, my experiences, my struggles, my message will not go very far.

Do you have garbage in your life? So does everyone. Why not allow it to amplify your signal instead of keeping it hidden?

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