Longer days, warmer temps and thoughts of basketball tournament time mean that spring is fastly approaching, but in Albany and Clinton County, it also means the arrival of the annual Clinton County Basketball Booster’s Club / WANY Radio Auction.

“It’s become as much a social event as it is a fundraiser,” Al Gibson said this week in describing the long-running five-hour long program that is set to be held again this Friday night.

Getting under way at 5:00 p.m. and headquartered again from the cafeteria at Clinton County High School, the annual Basketball Booster Club WANY Radio Auction will once again provide a night of fun entertainment for everyone involved, in addition to some much needed funding for the Lady Bulldog and Bulldog basketball programs.

Held on the Friday night following the final regular season basketball game (Thursday, February 14 – verses Barren County at home), the annual event brings fans, players, coaches and parents together to produce the radio auction and send it over the airwave of local radio station WANY.

Gibson noted that in the early years of the annual fundraising program, the Booster Club and other organizers tried a host of different formats as well as dates before eventually putting together the system and traditional date that has proven so successful for several years.

“We started out in one of the small rooms at WANY, and after just a couple of years, we were developing crowds that couldn’t be handled at the station, so we moved it to the school cafeteria,” Gibson explained. “In those early years, it was myself and Sid Scott manning the program, but when Sid stepped aside several years ago, Jackie Flowers stepped in and took his place – we’ve worked it together so long now we almost know what the other is going to do or say before it happens.”

Gibson, along with his long-time on the air hosting partner, will again attempt to keep some sort of working order to the process although listeners and those attending the event live at the cafeteria, can always expect at least a few chaotic segments as the event unfolds.

The premise of the radio auction is fairly simple, and with the organizers having spent the first several years refining the system now being used, it has undergone very few changes in recent years.

Much like a regular personal property auction, the Radio Auction will feature segments where items or services are described over the airwaves of WANY and then telephone bidding begins on a group of at least three featured items in each segment.

In addition to the bids being taken over the telephone, bids are also accepted on a “live” basis from those attending the program from it’s long-time headquarters location, the C.C.H.S. cafeterias.

To keep the bidding process fair to those using telephones to place bids, the final 30 seconds of each segment is reserved for telephone bids only, although Gibson noted in recent years, with the popularity of cell phones, even those attending the auction have been able to get in some winning bids in those final seconds of each group of items.

The annual auction to benefit the basketball program at Clinton County High School has long provided needed funding that allows the local teams to be able to compete on a more even basis with some of the programs from larger communities that have a much larger financial base.

Gibson also pointed out that the annual auction is a demonstration in how the community can come together for a common cause, with volunteers working to put on the auction, while the business and professional community graciously donates the items and services that are auctioned off.

“The bottom line is that in the end, it’s our young people involved with these varsity teams, who are wearing the blue and white uniforms and representing Clinton County every time they take the floor, that are benefiting through our efforts,”Gibson said.

As noted earlier, all of the merchandise and services that will be auctioned off Friday night have been donated by local and areas businesses and professionals, and all of the funds raised will be used to directly benefit the two teams.

In past years, the funding raised through the Booster Club Auction has been used to purchase a host of things that would be considered to be “extras” for the teams, such as travel suits, video equipment and even summer instructional camp fees just to mention a few.

The list of items that will be available will again be long, and varied, and will include offerings that can be had for a few dollars as well as several items that will be listed as “special” items, often going for several hundreds of dollars.

Traditionally, the items have included a large amount of food related offerings from local restaurants and stores, as well as many service related offerings.

While most items to be sold involve a physical item available for pickup at the cafeteria, other service related items will involve a certificate that can be redeemed from the respective business or professional that made the donation.

Those special, or “big ticket” items are usually auctioned in separate, longer running segments and can include anything from handmade items or autographed basketballs to home-baked cakes and even boat rentals from the two area lake marinas.

“It never ceases to amaze me the things that people give to us to auction off,” Gibson explained this week. “We’ve had calves, puppies, hand crafted chairs and even tickets to see the Cincinnati Reds in past years – I never know what we’ll have until everything gets laid out for display that night.”

Items being offered will be on display at the Clinton County High School cafeteria during Friday night’s auction, and the public is invited to make the choice to either participate from home by listening to the program on WANY, or in person at the auction headquarters in the cafeteria.

Home listeners are reminded that WANY now has a relatively new frequency located at 100.9 on the radio dial. Callers placing bids via telephone will be asked to dial 387-5689 to place bids, and bidders are reminded to tell the auction telephone operators the item you are bidding on, how much you would like to bid, as well as your name. If you are out-bid during a three-minute segment, the process is as simple as just picking up the phone and placing another bid on the item.

When each segment ends, Gibson and Flowers will announce the winning bidder and the amount of the winning bid for each item sold.

Subscribers to MediaCom cable in Albany and Clinton County, can also hear the program being simulcast on Channel 16, the system’s Local Access Channel.

Since the installation of a new “roll-over” telephone system at Clinton County High School several years ago, only one call-in number is needed as an unlimited number of callers can be accommodated at one time with the new system.

Basketball players on either the Bulldog or Lady Bulldog squad will be manning the telephones during Friday night’s auction.

Volunteers will be at the cafeteria throughout the program as well as for a while after the program ends, to allow winning bidders to come and pickup and pay for the items they have purchased.

In addition, Booster Club members will also be at the cafeteria at some point during the weekend for those who can’t come out to the auction location that night. That time and date will be announced during Friday night’s auction.