Jazz singer Emily Sage at the 2017 launch event for Amplifier

Jazz singer Emily Sage at the 2017 launch event for Amplifier

We wanted to know how WFAE could produce music content that the community needed, as well as content that filled a void in WFAE’s current program lineup, and advance WFAE’s digital/music presence.

Anyone can make a podcast. But to make a great podcast — one that resonates with listeners — you need to understand what the community needs and how your podcast can provide meaning. WFAE needed to understand the current Charlotte music landscape and how the station could best highlight its artists. 

In June 2018, WFAE created a call-out for Charlotte musicians to submit their songs and stories. WFAE also included some key questions that would give the station a deeper understanding of the Charlotte music scene and how Amplifier could encourage thoughtful conversations. WFAE expected to hear from about 50 people. To date, more than 500 Charlotte-area musicians have submitted their work through this form, and their answers have opened up even more ideas for guests, questions, and potential points to shine a light on the music scene.

As soon as the music submission call-out began, WFAE began receiving messages from fine arts institutions, venues, museums, breweries, and businesses to collaborate on local music initiatives around the podcast. 

With this comprehensive music database in mind, WFAE began a deep dive into the Charlotte music scene with a podcast series featuring interviews and insights from the community who contribute to the Queen City’s “Crown Sound.” This podcast launched in September 2018 with 20 new episodes in 20 days, making it the first daily music podcast of its kind.

Amplifier has continued as a bi-weekly podcast and has branched out into live performances, music trivia nights, and community discussions about the local and national music industry. In bringing the community into the podcast process and to a website featuring comprehensive Charlotte playlists and interactive music maps, Amplifier has provided a space for diverse Charlotte music communities to share stories and songs, thereby giving Charlotte audiences a deeper understanding and appreciation for the local music scene and the need to support it.