Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Metal, anyone? WMNF gets scrappy in search for funds

TAMPA — For some, the words "scrap metal" might evoke images of shadowy figures hopping fences and scaling walls, prying copper wiring from the back of air conditioning units or brass bars from the bottom of cellphone towers.

Such desperate thieves have struck so often in recent years, that the practice of trading metal for cash is one regarded as dirty by some.

But not the folks at WMNF. Tampa's community radio station is asking supporters to donate metals to next week's "Scrapping for the Airwaves" fundraiser.

Starting Monday, listeners can recycle junk metals at the radio station's east parking lot, at 1210 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The donated items will be turned over to a local metal recycler in exchange for funds that will be used to keep the station on the air.

"It's probably unusual, but we're known for doing unusual things," said Laura Taylor, WMNF's development director.

With a rough economy and the cancellation of state funding for community radio, WMNF operators looks for help where they can find it. Though 70 percent of the station's $1.6 million budget comes from listener contributions, significant portions come from special events and fundraisers, Taylor said.

"We always strive to think of new ways to raise money," Taylor said.

Joe Griffith, a Tampa artist affiliated with the Experimental Skeleton arts group, came up with the idea for a scrap metal fundraiser after seeing the 2010 Brazilian documentary Waste Land, which tells the story of an artist who creates mosaic portraits from materials gathered from a landfill.

"I thought, wow, there's a lot of people throwing out metal," Griffith said. "Why not target a venue and use it to fund their program."

Last year, Griffith helped launch his own group's "Scrapping for the Arts" initiative, an experimental fundraising effort for local arts venues.

Since then, the group has hosted scrap metal donation efforts for the West Tampa Center for the Arts and the Tempus Projects art gallery. Those projects brought in a few hundred dollars each, Griffith said. But he anticipates the WMNF project will produce even bigger results.

"People don't have to write a check or anything," Griffith said. "They just have to clean out their garages and stuff."

Copper wire and pipes, Christmas lights, steel and cast iron, air handlers, refrigerators, washing machines, household appliances, and industrial metals are all on the list of acceptable items for donations to the radio station.

Among the unacceptable items: radioactive materials, aerosol cans, air tanks, explosives and ammunition, televisions and cathode ray tubes, fluorescent lights, ballasts, and railroad ties.

Griffith says he wants to change the perception of metal recycling. If done right, it could be an easy way for nonprofits to raise money, he said.

"There's a lot of scrap metal people that are totally legitimate," Griffith said. "Anybody that would steal anything is a thief."

Law enforcement is not particularly concerned about the "Scrapping for the Airwaves" drive.

"We have not ever seen any type of theft as a result of donations, because there's no incentive for it," said Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis. "Whatever they think is going to be successful for them, we encourage them to try it."

Dan Sullivan can be reached at dsullivan@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3321.

Metal, anyone? WMNF gets scrappy in search for funds 12/05/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 5, 2011 10:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]