LIMA — Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, area proms were canceled, leaving many juniors and seniors without that special event.
Woof Boom Radio in Lima hosted a virtual prom Saturday night from the Ohio Theatre to give kids an alternative to the regular prom.
Abbey Ambroza, a 17-year-old senior from Shawnee High School, was excited about the virtual prom.
She spent the evening at home with her family.
“I’m listening with my parents and then my aunt and uncle and then my little cousins gonna be there with me too and we’re gonna play games while listening to the music,” Ambroza said.
The event was streamed live over the radio station’s webpage from the Ohio Theatre while teens watched from home.
Fun 107.1 and DJLimaOhio.com’s Phil Austin hosted the event with DJ SNKRZ on the turntables.
The idea for the virtual prom came from someone in the Muncie, Indiana, office of Woof Boom Radio. Initially, there was no way available to do it without paying royalties to all of the different composers and songwriters through the BMI and ASCAP.
“About three days later, I got a notification from a service that I subscribed to that said I can pay a subscription to upgrade to their service that takes care of the royalties for artists and now you can stream legally,” Austin said.
The idea soon became a reality.
“I thought this would be a fantastic way to give something back to these kids that have had so much taken away from this year,” Austin said.
Originally, Austin was planning to do the event from his garage but was able to convince their marketing department to promote the event and bring on advertisers.
It wasn’t too long before the Ohio Theatre came on board as well as Westgate Entertainment Center who bought Echo Dots and Amazon gift cards to give away. Tony’s in Ottawa also gave away coupons for Titan Burgers, and Premier Decorating did balloon decorations at the Ohio Theatre.
The event ran from 8 to 11 p.m. but people could log on at 7:30 p.m. through Zoom and introduce themselves and request songs.
“We did not open anybody’s audio up except for ours with the exception of when somebody wanted to do a shout out or a live request. We were able to bring them into the mix of our live stream,” Austin said.
Just like any other prom, all area kings and queens were recognized.
“There were a few (schools) that actually already had a selection process underway. For example, Shawnee already knew their king and queen so they contacted me, and we made sure that we notified their students at a specific time. So yeah, that worked out really well,” Austin said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.