Center the WTMD experience around a community building large scale event series that served members and nonmember listeners, encouraged membership and new listeners as well create a significant community service event. The ultimate goal was to enhance the quality of life in Baltimore for everyone. Increase music industry perception of Baltimore as a ‘Must Play’ city and bring National recording artists to Baltimore.
First Thursdays Concerts in the Park in Mt. Vernon Park in the center of Baltimore with an approximate capacity of 3,500 people. The event grew over nine years to 5,000 people for show. The event was paid for by sponsorships and consisted of five free concerts featuring national recording artists like Los Lonely Boys, Joan Osborne, The Hold Steady, and others. Baltimore musicians were included to serve WTMD’s commitment to the community.
Once the event outpaced the capacity of Mt. Vernon Park, I lead WTMD staff in moving the event to a large venue, Canton Waterfront Park. This move entailed significant a community communications plan. Increases in the complexity of the event including sponsorship sales, increased food and beer vendor locations, staging and security. The event instantly swelled to 10,000 people. The event is knows as the Mid-Atlantic’s largest free rock concert Series.
Steve Yasko, as General Manager of WTMD, engaged multiple economic impact studies to ascertain WTMD’s contribution to Baltimore. Each study indicated more than $500,000 was added to the local economy for each of the concerts totally over $2 million per year in increased revenues primarily in the hospitality industry. VIP experiences were created for major donors that became incentives for increased membership contributions at the $1,500+ level. Underwriting clients increaed by 20% through purchasing on-site and on-air participation packages.