With the end of yet another regular season basketball campaign this week, and thoughts turning to next week’s start of the post-season tournament run for Clinton County’s Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, the “buffer” event between the two is set for this Friday night.
The annual Clinton County High School Basketball Booster Club / WANY Radio Auction will fill the airwaves of the local F.M. radio station this Friday, February 17.
Traditionally held on the Friday night following the final regular season basketball game, the annual program is the largest fundraising event for the Clinton County High School varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball teams.
The program will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will once again be headquartered from the Clinton County High School cafeteria.
The program will continue until either all available items have been sold, normally near the sign-off time for WANY, at about 10:00 p.m.
For the past few weeks, Booster Club members, made up mostly of parents and guardians of Lady Bulldog and Bulldog basketball players, have been soliciting local individuals, professionals and business owners, for donations of services and merchandise that will be featured during the radio auction segments.
This year’s auction will once again be hosted by long-time co-hosts Al Gibson and Jack Flowers.
Gibson, who has been at the microphone on auction night since the very first edition, says that the process has been refined over the years, and the format on auction night will basically remain the same.
Gibson’s on-air partner, Jackie Flowers, joined the program several years ago after the late Sid Scott stepped down from his work as co-host of the radio auction.
Scott and Gibson came up with the idea for the fundraising event during the initial years after the formation of the Basketball Booster Club back in the early 1980s.
Since those first years, the event has moved from it’s humble beginnings based out of “Studio A” at radio station WANY with just a handful of people on hand, to its current home base at the Clinton County High School cafeteria, where at times the number of people attending the auction in person can result in a nearly packed cafeteria.
The program will again be a combination of radio listeners/bidders who are listening over the WANY frequency of 100.9 FM, and those who are attending on a live basis in the high school cafeteria.
Items will be grouped together in a string of series with normal items being bid on for a specified length of time.
The basic premise of the auction is unchanged from years past, with a group of three or more items or services being described over the air and listed on a large bulletin board at the cafeteria for segments that usually last for just three minutes.
Bidders calling in over the phone or in person can continue to raise the bids on items until the segment ends, winning bidders are announced and the process starts all over again with a completely new lineup of items.
From time to time, items that are deemed to be “big-ticket” items and would likely garner more attention, are stretched out for longer featured times and are usually run in conjunction with the groups of normal items being auctioned off.
To keep the bidding process fair to bidders listening to the program over the radio and calling bids in via telephone, and to prevent bid “sniping” from the crowd of bidders attending the event inside the cafeteria, the final 30 seconds of each segment is always allotted as “phone bids only” and live bids from the cafeteria audience are not taken.
In addition to Gibson and Flowers doing the on-air presentation throughout the night, there is a long list of others on hand for the auction night work at the cafeteria, including merchandise organizers, bid description board workers, final bid tally keepers.
Bidders who call in and place bids during the program should also recognize that the voice on the other end of the telephone belongs to members of the teams the auction will benefit.
Players from both the girls’ and boys’ teams will take turns manning the telephone banks throughout the night, talking to bidders and announcing each bid as they are called in.
Although participants calling in by telephone is the mainstay of the program’s success, oftentimes it is the antics that goes on among the crowd gathered inside the cafeteria, producing in-house bidding and challenges, that provides the most entertainment.
“The public is invited to come out to the cafeteria and participate on a “live” basis if they wish,” Gibson noted this week. “There are always some good refreshments available and sometimes even some of the pies and cakes that are sold during the auction are opened up and passed around by the winning bidder.”
The lineup of items and services that will be offered at Friday night’s radio auction will, of course, be as varied and interesting as it has ever been, normally ranging from clothing to health and personal services to furniture and tools.
Food items are always a big favorite with the bidders, especially when the homemade pies, cakes and cookies come across the board.
While the majority of the items and services that will be offered for sale during the program are smaller, inexpensive and certainly affordable, there are always several items that are promoted as “special” items and are featured for extended segment runs and usually garner higher prices.
Those items can range from houseboat or pontoon boat rentals to handmade items or even antiques or collectibles.
The radio auction is designed as a way to raise funds to help with expenses associated with the varsity basketball program in Clinton County.
The premise behind the Booster Club and the fundraising events is to give the small high school program a boost in providing things to it’s student-athletes that might not otherwise be possible on an often strained athletic budget.
While larger schools in larger communities and cities are often able to go the extra mile, smaller programs like the one here often work on shoestring budgets and additional fundraising efforts such as the ones planned for this weekend are just one attempt at reaching for some status of financial equality with the larger programs.
The items that are auctioned off during the program Friday night have been donated to the effort by local business owners, professionals and individuals who always step forward with fantastic offerings that make the effort a tremendous success each and every year.
Items that will be sold Friday night can be picked up during or after the auction at the C.C.H.S. cafeteria that night for awhile following the end of the program, and an additional pick-up day will also be announced throughout the program for those who can’t make it out Friday night.
While most of the items being sold will actually be on hand for pick-up by the winning bidders, other items and services that have been sold will involve gift certificates that can be taken to the vendor.
Home listeners/bidders enjoying the program over the WANY broadcast are reminded that only one telephone number is necessary with the multi-line “roll-over” system in use at Clinton County High School, and the telephone number that will be used Friday night is (606) 387-5569.
Listeners are also reminded that the auction, along with all WANY programming, is also simulcast over the public access channel for subscribers of MediaCom cable service, via tuning to channel 16.
Bidders using the telephone will be asked to state a bid amount as well as the caller’s name.
If a caller is out-bid by another caller or in-house bidder during a particular segment, then placing a new bid is as simple as making another phone call and placing a new bid on the item.
When bidding has ended on a group of featured items, new items are then presented and described, and the process starts over again.
Gibson also remarked that the true spirit of our community always is a positive aspect when events of this nature are held, especially when it comes to benefiting the local youth population.