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Jazz for Baghdad: Trinity University's KRTU-FM Sponsoring "Music for Marines" Serving in Iraq

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SAN ANTONIO - KRTU-FM, the listener supported radio station of Trinity University, is used to getting music requests for its jazz programming. However, one recent long distance request has the station doing more than playing a favorite song on the air. Marines stationed at a military base outside Baghdad have e-mailed KRTU-FM hoping the station can provide music for a newly opened jazz cafe. So during July, KRTU-FM sponsored a “Music for Marines" program to send jazz to Iraq.

According to station manager Ryan Weber, KRTU-FM first received the request from Lt. Willie McCoy and Lt. Wilfredo Rodriguez in late May. The two Marines explained they had opened a jazz cafe for one night a week at Camp Taqaddum, 35 miles west of Baghdad, and were in need of music for the new establishment.

“At first we were unsure of how to handle the request," said Mr. Weber. “Then we came up with the idea to make it a community wide project." KRTU-FM began airing announcements on their Music for Marines program and hosted a series of Thursday night jazz concerts at local clubs to draw additional music donations.

Mr. Weber said that the station has been surprised by the community's strong support of the project. “It's going really well. We really didn't know what to expect," he said, adding, “We've received books, videos, and CDs. It's all coming together."

When reached by e-mail, Lt. McCoy wrote that it was a passion for jazz that led to the opening of the jazz cafe. “My partner, Lt. Rodriguez, and I wanted to create an environment where people can relax and enjoy jazz music, and forget for a moment the day to day hazards of this place."

He said he contacted KRTU-FM because he is a fan of the station. “Since my arrival to San Antonio in February 2000, KRTU has been one of two stations in the area that I exclusively listen to," he wrote. He added that he is a financial supporter of the station and recently renewed his membership.

When told of the early success of the Music for Marines program, Lt. McCoy expressed deep gratitude. “Lt. Rodriguez and I would like to thank Trinity University and KRTU-FM for providing support to the sailors, soldiers, marines, air force, Department of Defense civilian employees, and Third Country Nationals here in Al Taqaddum, Iraq. We really appreciate the time and effort the radio station has put forth in this venture."

KRTU-FM plans to collect all the donations by the end of the month and ship them to Iraq in early August.

For more information, please call KRTU-FM at (210) 999-8917.

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