Weekender

Longtime Centre County radio host, musician Don Bedell moves on to next gig

Don Bedell is the director of business support at WPSU.
Don Bedell is the director of business support at WPSU. Photo provided

An iconic figure in the Centre County music scene, Don Bedell has had a career marked by successes and a diverse array of opportunities. The latest brings him to WPSU, where he works as the director of business support.

“This opportunity at WPSU came at a good time,” Bedell said. “Everything happened when it was supposed to happen. It just felt right. It was a great move. I love being here. I love the people here. I love the station.”

It’s a position that covers a broad area throughout central Pennsylvania, including 24 counties, which is a much broader region within which Bedell has been working throughout a good portion of his career.

“I have a team of two underwriters,” Bedell said. “The three of us cover the region. It’s our job to set up appointments and go call on businesses throughout 24 counties.”

In addition to working with businesses to support the station, Bedell helps with the pledge campaigns viewers and listeners can check out from time to time.

“We appreciate all of the members,” Bedell said. “We just finished our fall pledge drive on WPSU FM and we raised our goal with four hours to spare. We always appreciate that.”

On the local music scene, Bedell made his mark in bands like Frackwater Jack and Your Dad’s Friends, and also as a radio host where he is popularly known as Radio’s Don Bedell. His love for music started at a young age, when he was immersed in classic rock and the music of his cousins’ generation, but when he was around 13 or 14 — an age Bedell states is critical when developing musical taste — he found his sound.

“R.E.M. was the ‘change my life’ band,” Bedell said. “It was like, this is me, this is mine. That doesn’t belong to the people before me. This is now my generation’s music.”

Bedell has been able to transfer his love of the music he discovered back then into a consistent presence as a musician in our region, and while he continues to find opportunities to play with his bands when he has the time, his focus lately is on some special music coming form the next generation.

“The biggest thing I’m excited about musically right now is my youngest daughter (Audrey) has been writing songs,” Bedell said. “She’s actually coming home this weekend. We’re going to record and work on, she has seven songs she done demos for and wants to put together an EP.”

Prior to starting the position at WPSU, Bedell championed The Freq, a radio station that was a local favorite, and that featured the popular and local music scene-building show Live @ Five, a weekly special that featured local bands live and in the studio every Friday afternoon. Although it was a non-paying gig, it was one of the few non-paying gigs anywhere that was worth it.

“Musicians are asked to do a lot of gigs for exposure,” Bedell said, “and of course people say you can die of exposure. But, we were putting music out over the airwaves for anyone to hear.”

Kevin Briggs is a writer and musicians who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.
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