GENEVA, NY-Always broadcast in the dead of winter, the Nobody Show's Homelessness Marathon is a 14-hour live radio broadcast that originates from the streets of a different city each year. As in past years, WEOS-FM 89.7 will air the entire show. The fourth annual marathon is slated to originate from Boston beginning at 7 p.m. EST, Wednesday, January 24, and running until 9 a.m. EST, Thursday, January 25.
The marathon raises no funds, and is strictly a consciousness-raising broadcast, with the premise that solving the problem of homelessness requires societal change, not merely overcoming personal failings.
For most of the marathon, two experts on homelessness and poverty join host “Nobody” to discuss aspects such as the impact of welfare reform, availability of housing, access to health care, and anti-homeless legislation. Two hours are devoted to panels of homeless people (mothers, vets, youth, “mentally ill,” etc.). Throughout the night, “Nobody” takes calls from the general public and homeless people, who call from a special number circulated through shelters and homeless papers. On the night of the broadcast, some shelters set aside a listening room where the normal lights-out policy is suspended. The broadcast booth is situated outdoors in an area frequented by homeless people, with a microphone out on the street, which facilitates participation by the homeless and dramatizes the plight of people with nowhere to go in the cold.
“The Homelessness Marathon is an impressive effort and includes a wide range of topics and viewpoints,” said Sam Fuqua, the news director of KGNU, from Boulder, Colo. “We heard perspectives from homeless people, social service professionals, elected officials, listener call-ins from all over the country. In the hour before we joined the national broadcast, our station did a program focused on homelessness in our area. I went home later, got into my warm bed and listened well into the night. I didn't sleep very well.”