Dundalk, WQSR alliance is a match made in (housewarming) heaven

On High Schools

High Schools

October 29, 2004|By MILTON KENT

IT'S NOT OFTEN that you find a new set of bleachers and stadium lights tucked in among housewarming gifts, but Dundalk football coach Dave Eubank's recent move to a new house may pay off bigger dividends for the school than the predictable towels and toasters and throw rugs.

It was at Eubank's housewarming where he and Dundalk athletic director Jeff Walen met Renee Jamerson, the director of FM operations and promotions for Infinity Broadcasting, which owns and operates WQSR (102.7 FM).

Walen and Eubank needed to raise some money to fund a campaign to bring lights and bleachers to the school's athletic field. Jamerson needed something to restore the station's good name to the Dundalk community, and just like that, a partnership was formed.

FOR THE RECORD - A sports column by Milton Kent incorrectly identified the football coach at Dundalk High School. The coach's name is David Hall.
The Sun regrets the error.

"You can call it the chance happening and the need to get in the good graces of Dundalk," Jamerson said.

As a result, tonight's homecoming game against Parkville at the Community College of Baltimore County campus at Dundalk will take on extra significance.

The school will stage a big "Field of Dreams" fundraiser at the gym during a tailgate party before the game. For a $10 ticket, entrants will select one of 1,000 sheets of paper scattered on the gym floor. Each of those sheets will contain a prize, ranging from his and hers Ravens watches, rugby shirts and restaurant gift certificates to airline tickets.

In addition, there will be a raffle, where a $100 ticket gives the recipient a 1 in 2,000 chance to win one of those "Orange County Chopper" motorcycles that are all the rage on the "American Chopper" show on the Discovery Channel.

The effort is certainly for a good cause. Dundalk High, opened in 1959, plays its night games at CCBC-Dundalk because its athletic field has no bleachers and no lights. The team could continue to play at the community college, Walen said, but it's not a cost-effective long-term plan.

Walen said the school charges admission for any games at the high school, per county policy, but he feels a little guilty.

"It's `give me four bucks and go stand over there,' " Walen said. "It would be nice if you pay admission, if you had a place to watch the game. That makes sense."

Walen estimates that it will cost $200,000 to get the bleachers and lights, and while a local county councilman and Baltimore County's recreation and parks department have pledged some money, he figures the Dundalk High community will have to foot most of the bill.

"We've got to fund this thing ourselves, so we're trying to figure out a way to do it," Walen said.

But there aren't enough cupcake sales and car washes that can raise that kind of cash quickly, and that's where Jamerson and WQSR come in.

Jamerson said the station had been looking to help local schools, but couldn't find a good fit. At the housewarming, Jamerson, who was there with a friend who knows the coach, said she was impressed with Eubank's zeal for his players and for the school.

"[Eubank] is a great guy," Jamerson said. "He's very passionate about the students and wanting to do good for those guys, but he can't because there's no money there. It's a real bummer."

Dundalk's other ace in the hole, as WQSR goes, was that Brian Wilson and Don O'Brien, the station's former afternoon "drive-time" hosts, had made the town the butt of their jokes.

"Brian and O'Brien's" anti-Dundalk spiel predated their time at WQSR, but Jamerson felt her station was getting a bad rep in the community because of it.

So, WQSR is going all out, declaring today "Dundalk Appreciation Day" with donated prizes and a remote from the scene, not to mention the presence of on-air personalities from the station, the flagship of the Ravens radio network and the eighth-rated station in the Arbitron summer ratings book.

As one might expect, the phones have been ringing off the hook at WQSR from other schools looking for help since the Dundalk spots started running, Jamerson said.

And while the station will do what it can to help schools in need, the reality, Jamerson said, is, "You can't really help everybody, although we want to. There are a ton of charities out there."

Rail if you want about the unfairness of one school having a giant radio station coming to its aid when there are so many other schools that have needs, but when you've been picked on as much as the Dundalk High community has, every little bit of assistance is welcomed.

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