Donor Spotlight: Mike Fratt
"Well, NET is good for my business," said the general manager of Homer's Records in Omaha's Old Market. "It's karma. Your programming influences sales in the store. So it's just more than appropriate for us to support NET."
Fratt operates one of the few remaining independent music stores in the nation; it's the only independent music store in Omaha. Many cities far larger than Omaha no longer have independent music stores, he said, as competition from digital downloads, mail-order and big-box retailers have driven out the little guys.
Homer's, now in its 41st year, perseveres, even thrives, because customers appreciate Homer's deep inventory, knowledgeable staff and funky vibe.
"We're a t-shirt and jeans kind of place," Fratt said. "Tourists really love us."
Fratt knows when NET broadcasts a special featuring oldies or any music not on the contemporary hits list. "We see people in the store the next day."
What are they looking for? Herman's Hermits. The Monkees. Davey Jones. Lesley Gore. The Platters. The Stylistics. Classic soul or blues. Music from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s that is sometimes classified as "golden oldies." For Fratt, they're just golden.
"We stock that product every day," Fratt said. "We're the only place in town for music like Mancini or Buena Vista Social Club. Or the Civil War soundtrack. Or the Dylan documentary. Or Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie." He expects any soundtrack associated with the Ken Burns' Dust Bowl documentary will be popular.
"That search for music even extends to groups like Celtic Woman or Celtic Thunder," Fratt said. "Public media has an impact on our sales and I want (public media) to continue."
Fratt's store carries about 30,000 different titles, as compared to a big box store with a typical 1,200 title inventory. The store also sells electronics like turn-tables, because vinyl is a growing market segment, especially for audiophiles and younger customers, he said. The older customers are still looking for CDs.
Fratt is also a consumer of music on NET, particularly Austin City Limits, Soundstage and blues or soul specials.
"Continue the great programming," he said. "Add more jazz programming. My goal is just to share music with everybody."
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