Basketball Boosters/WANY Radio Auction is Friday night

Posted February 13, 2019 at 2:48 pm

One of our community’s longest running, fundraising events is set for another edition this Friday night when the Clinton County Basketball Booster Club / WANY Radio Auction gets underway.

The long-running annual fundraiser for the Clinton County High School varsity basketball program will once again fill the airwaves of local radio station WANY,.

If tradition holds true, the event will also fill the cafeteria at the school where the program has been headquartered for the past several years.

Getting underway at 5:00 Friday afternoon, the program will continue until all of the items have been sold.

For most years in the program’s long history, that usually puts the “wrap-up” time somewhere near the usual 10:00 p.m. sign-off for the station’s daily programming.

The program has traditionally been held as the “buffer” event between the end of regular season basketball games and the start of the 16th District Tournament, the opening of post-season play for Clinton County’s varsity basketball teams.

The 2018-19 regular season play is scheduled to close this Thursday night, when the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs travel to 4th Region opponent Barren County.

This week’s season finale outing against Barren County will see a “flip-flop” of sorts taking place, with the boys’ varsity game being played first, with a slated tipoff time of 6:00 p.m., followed by the girls’ varsity contest.

Next week, action moves into the 16th District tournament, which will be hosted this year by Metcalfe County and is slated to be played Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

A separate article appears this week with details surrounding next week’s 16th District Tournament.

As for this Friday night’s Radio Auction fundraiser, the event will once again see a host of parents and fans joining together with players to pull off the annual program.

Al Gibson and Jack Flowers, who have served as on-air hosts for the annual auction for many years, will once again be behind the headsets during Friday’s programs, describing to the radio audience listening in the items that are being sold during each segment of the event.

The concept of the radio auction fundraiser event for the booster club organization, was an idea floated to the group by long time radio announcer the late Sid Scott, and Al Gibson, who approached the organization shortly after the club was organized in the early 1980s.

After several years of co-hosting the program with Gibson, Scott stepped down and Flowers moved in to help out in the role of co-host.

The current co-host duo has been with the program ever since.

Gibson and Flowers will be working along with parents and fans of current players, coaches and support staff from the boys’ and girls’ programs, and of course, the players themselves, who when everything is said and done, will benefit the most from Friday night’s auction.

A constantly revolving lineup of Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs work the telephone calls during the annual auction, collecting bids on the various items from callers who are listening to the program over WANY.

Most items being sold will be featured in segments that are approximately three minutes long, with bids being allowed from both audience members who are listening to the program over the WANY airwaves, as well as from those who are actually attending the auction “live” from the high school cafeteria site.

Listeners to the program can tune into the WANY frequency of 100.9 FM, and subscribers to the Mediacom cable television service in Clinton County can also tune to Channel 16, the local access channel, where WANY’s programming is simulcast.

Listeners who find an interest in one or more of the items being sold in each segment, can place bids by calling (606) 387-5569.

The auction utilizes the “roll-over” system at the high school, which allows the use of only one phone number now, with calls automatically being routed to the next available phone worker.

Gibson explained that in order to be fair to those who were bidding from their homes and listening to the program via the radio, the final 30 seconds of each segment allows bids to be taken over the phones only.

“The antics that sometimes go on among those gathered in the cafeteria can be very entertaining as well,” Gibson said, noting that challenges among bidders can also often drive the price of an item up even beyond its market value.

He also noted that with the advent of the cellular telephone, even those attending the auction inside the cafeteria are now able to get in on the bidding process during those final 30 seconds, which can make the process even more fun and entertaining for everyone as well.

Gibson says that the process has been refined over the years, and the format on auction night will remain the same as it has for many years.

Many of the items will be previewed over the Internet prior to the Friday night auction, giving the audience an earlier look at some of the offerings that will be going up on the auction block that night.

Gibson added that the idea of actually going live with on-line bidding had been discussed in years past, but slow service in this area, which results in a delay often times of several seconds, still proves to be an obstacle, and a solution hadsnot yet been found .

In its early years, the auction was actually based from the broadcasting studios of radio station WANY, but within a few short years, the crowd that was gathering to be close to the base had grown so large that it was moved to the high school cafeteria.

“At times, the cafeteria crowd can get to be so large and rambunctious, that it sometimes gets hard for Jack and I to keep control of the process,” Gibson explained. “In fact, a few years ago, we had to move our broadcasting location and console unit out into the adjacent hallway in order to be able to hear each other and keep up with the bidding process.”

Gibson went on, however, to invite anyone interested to come out to the cafeteria and enjoy the fun and camaraderie that exists from the headquarter location.

For those attending the event live, concessions will also be available, and for the first time this year, some of the Booster Club members will also be selling bake sale items as well.

Radio listeners hoping to score some of those homemade baked goodies are not to be too concerned, however, as a wide array of locally baked foods will be featured during the auction bidding process as has always been the case.

The items that are auctioned off during the program Friday night have been donated by local business owners, professionals and individuals who always step forward with fantastic offerings that make the effort a tremendous success each year.

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 have significant value, are deemed to be “big-ticket” items and will be isolated to run for multiple segment lengths.

Those “big ticket” items can range from handmade items to houseboat or pontoon boat rentals or basketball related items such as tickets to college games or even basketballs that have been autographed by the varsity squads and more.

The array of items that will be featured for the bulk of the program will be smaller items that will be as varied and interesting as it has ever been, normally ranging from clothing to health and personal services to furniture and tools.

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 materials and opportunities to its 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 one planned for this weekend are just one attempt at reaching for some status of financial equality with the larger programs.

Items that will be sold Friday night can be picked up during or after the auction at the C.C.H.S. cafeteria 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.

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 repeated his long-standing bragging of the community’s positive spirit and support of the Radio Auction and other similar events staged by groups here throughout the year, noting that, especially when it comes to supporting our local youth, “Albany and Clinton County always steps forward in a big way.”

Mark it down now – this Friday night from 5:00 p.m. until the last item is sold . . . bid, buy and support our Big Blue.