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WARX sending songs to South Pole

May 21, 2001

WARX sending songs to South Pole



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer


When WARX announcer Bill McCarrey opened his request line Friday night, he reached out.

Way out.

After occasionally talking to some people working at McMurdo Ground Station, a science and military base in Antarctica, station officials decided to dedicate an hour of music for the workers between 8 and 9 p.m.

Workers at McMurdo have been listening to the Hagerstown radio station through the Internet.

McMurdo workers and WARX radio station announcers began communicating after McMurdo residents began e-mailing song requests. For the special program Friday night, McMurdo employees e-mailed a song request list to station manager Gene Manning.

The list was sent by Neal and Mary Jo Carpenter, a Jefferson County, W.Va., couple who work at a fire station at McMurdo. The request list included songs like "Tennessee Stud," "Unchained Melody," "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Yesterday when I was Young."

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Neal Carpenter, who lives in Shenandoah Junction, wanted to hear "Love is Strange" by Mickey and Sylvia; Mary Jo wanted to hear "City of New Orleans" by Arlo Guthrie.

"We'll get both of those on for sure," McCarrey said.

In his e-mail Carpenter relayed song requests from the food service manager, dispatcher, power plant technician and other workers at McMurdo.

"It's a long winter for Peter Hobbs, a member of our janitorial staff. He wants to hear 'We got to get out of this place' by the Animals," Carpenter said in the e-mail.

McMurdo is a community that provides logistical and operational support to all Antarctic Continental science and science support activities. The U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard also have operations there, McCarrey said. The complex can have between 250 and 1,100 people working there. Most of the workers are there in the summer. Currently, Antarctica is moving into the cold season.

"They're out of whack with our seasons 180 degrees," McCarrey said.

Although the Internet has provided a new way for radio stations across the country to offer their programming, McCarrey said many are dropping the service due to new licensing fees.

McMurdo workers are taking full advantage of the service while it lasts.

McCarrey said he expected to play about 15 songs for the Antarctic residents. He did not anticipate having any on-air conversations with them.

The McMurdo staff planned on recording the segment from the 60s oldies station and re-broadcasting it in their complex, McCarrey said.

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