Mountain Area Information Network
Volunteer Spotlight on: Christopher Fielden


A new volunteer comes through for MAIN and WPVM!

If anyone thought Christopher Fielden was nuts to take on the job of WPVM's on-air listener fund drive coordinator - as a brand new volunteer at MAIN's brand new low-power FM and Internet radio station - by the afternoon of Monday, May 3rd, they probably would have thought they were right.

After weeks of planning and preparation, the fund drive had started that morning. Not only was it the first on-air fund drive, it was the first extended live broadcast of any kind for the station, which until that day had been running entirely via computer.

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When the microphones had a few problems, it was an expected warm-up glitch. When the air conditioning in the studio failed, it was a bit of an inconvenience. When the telephone system temporarily went down, it was cause for concern. By the time the fire alarms started sounding (false alarms, fortunately), even the unflappable Christopher was wondering what in the heck was going on.

"I was running around like a crazy man," he recalls.

By the end of the week, though, Christopher proved he isn't crazy, but rather extremely dedicated to the cause. When the donations finally stopped rolling in, the fund drive had topped the ambitious goal of $10,000 by more than 12 percent - a grand total of $11,285 for the week.

"Christopher is one of those MAIN volunteers who turn out to be a godsend," said Wally Bowen, executive director of MAIN, which operates the nonprofit radio station. "Over the years we've been blessed with finding the right person at the right time for a specific project. Christopher organized this fundraiser from beginning to end and made it a huge success!"

"It was a huge affirmation of WPVM, " Christopher said of the staggering total. "The people of Asheville and western North Carolina really responded - the support for the station and the programming was overwhelming."

Preparing for the fund drive was an exercise in organization for Christopher, a trait which also helps him in his regular job managing computerized blue prints and architectural drawings at Warren Wilson College. Christopher found that experience helpful as he set about building a team to tackle the technical, financial and organizational tasks of the fund drive.

"I have done a lot of organizing work, so I felt comfortable taking on this responsibility. I didn't exactly realize what I was getting myself into, but I knew I had the people around me to help pull it off and make it successful."

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One of those key helpers was Beth Trigg, a friend of Christopher's who works as a nonprofit fundraiser with experience in public radio listener support. A WPVM fan herself, Trigg was happy to help. She says Christopher was the perfect person for the job.

"Christopher is extremely organized and efficient and also great with people -- a great combination of skills for this particular challenge. He did an amazing job of coordinating all of the different elements and working with dozens of volunteers," Trigg said. "But most of all, Christopher is so committed to community and to free speech radio. That's why he was able to pour himself into the hard work with such passion."

WPVM Fundraising Committee chair Bill Hufnagle says Christopher impressed everyone involved with the station when he volunteered to take on the on-air fund drive job while still a brand new volunteer.

"This job required a very special leader, one with vision and follow through," Hufnagle said. "From the very first conversations with Christopher it was evident to me that he possessed the qualities for the job at hand, the desire to make it succeed and the love for this community that would fill this project with light and positive energy."

Christopher eagerly shares credit for the success of the fund drive with the many other volunteers who stepped forward to take part. They're the reason he found the project fun, despite the hard work.

"It was absolutely a group effort. I continue to volunteer because I like working with the other people involved with the station. WPVM is a growing community of amazing, dedicated people who are extremely excited about what we're doing," Christopher said.

That excitement will sustain the station and help it reach more and more people, Christopher said, and he believes Asheville and western North Carolina will be all the better for the effort.

"We are building something that is already a voice in our community that we cannot live without. It is a pleasure and a joy to be part of the WPVM team. I encourage others to join the team and support this important effort. This radio station belongs to the people and we need the people's support to continue and grow."


Recent Volunteer spotlights: Bill Hufnagle