Since 2005, WEOS listeners have come to know a familiar theme and a familiar voice. For a half-hour each week, Tish Pearlman invites guests of all kinds into the studio...artists, poets, musicians, writers, scientists, doctors...the guests and topics are wide-ranging and reflect Pearlman’s own boundless curiosity. If she reads a new book or discovers a musical artist, it’s a fair bet she’ll bring them on her show, but in the beginning, it wasn’t always easy to get them to agree to that interview.
“The biggest challenge at first was to get people to come on the show because oftentimes, especially in our region, people thought I was trying to present a student show. They didn’t know that I was really a professional broadcaster. So, it took a while to build a reputation so that now I’ve got books and CDs and publicists asking for their clients to be on my show. The challenge was to gain credibility.”
While Pearlman may have her pick of guests, renown isn’t what motivates her when she invites somebody onto Out of Bounds.
“I didn’t want to have just famous people on. I wanted to have people who were doing amazing things in our communities and don’t get much recognition.”
One truth of public broadcasting, and you certainly hear us say this a lot come fund drive, is that we do a lot with a little. That’s especially true of Pearlman. As an independent producer, she isn’t based at a radio station. Pearlman secures her own studio time at her own expense for a show that she basically gives away. So, it was a big deal when she lost one of her major sources of funding last year. Pearlman was able to make due with some short-term donations, but friends of Out of Bounds have rallied to gather even more support.
“We’re going to have a big fundraiser Friday, August 11th at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca. Musicians, food and drink, we’re going to have a raffle, because I have had an absolute outpouring of past guests, artists, photographers, musicians, writers who want to donate autographed books, autographed paintings. Businesses are donating so we’re having this huge raffle. We’ve got Janis Ian sending some stuff. It’s going to be a huge event and we’re hoping to keep the project going through this big fundraiser that’s planned.”
With the challenge of producing Out of Bounds each week and looking for new funding, one might wonder if it’s time to look back on more than ten years of broadcasts and consider it a good enough run.
“You know, I have thought I was burning out off and on and I book somebody I’ve been wanting to book and I read a book or a memoir where I go, ‘Oh! I’ve got to get in touch with this person!’ Elizabeth Alexander was one of them, her memoir of her husband dying at the age of 50. She was one of my favorite poets and I decided to reach out and she came on the show a few months ago. So, that re-energizes me, the fact there there are still so many people wanting to be on and I will never run out of ideas because this whole region is just filled with creative people and forward-thinking people out there working in communities, working in the culture. So, I get re-energized every time I start thinking ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this anymore, it’s too much work, doing it by myself,’ and then I go ‘Whoa! I just booked so and so and here I am again.’”
It was a lot of fun getting her on the other side of an interview. The Out of Bountiful fundraiser is at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca Friday, August 11th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.