Who We Are







Hello! Welcome to Marion Makes Music, Inc.!

We are an official 501c3 charitable, non-profit organization based in Marion, Ohio.

OUR MISSION: To foster music enrichment by
1) providing free music lessons to children in Marion County,
2) broadcasting blues music, which is a dying American cultural heritage, on our low-power radio station WDIF-LP 97.5 FM in Marion, and
3) providing free promotional services to bands/musicians with paid events in Marion County.

Our organization is formerly known as “The US Open Junior Drum and Bugle Corps Championship Commission.” Ugh, quite a mouthful, right? Unfortunately as time has marched on (pun intended), drum and bugle corps have become a thing of the past. So with the future in mind, we have updated our image and mission to better reflect current needs in our community!

As “Marion Makes Music,” we are a driving force in Marion, Ohio that matches children who really want to learn how to play music with trusted, professional musicians who love to teach! In our system, everyone wins: music teachers get paid, and children learn for free. All we ask is that the kids we teach help us clean up around town a little bit with some fun, organized activities in what we call our “Blues Crew!”

We also run WDIF-LP 97.5 FM, a low-power, non-profit radio station in Marion that plays BLUES MUSIC all day along with locally-produced, informational programs. We believe that blues music is a very important part of our American musical heritage. It is also the genre in which a lot of musicians “cut their teeth on” when learning how to seriously play. We believe running a low-power radio station helps accentuate our goal to provide and promote music to Marion.




Our goal is to provide free music lessons to children who live in Marion County and whom otherwise could not afford such an opportunity. We do that by matching applicants with our network of trusted local musicians.

Our music teachers are vetted with background checks and come recommended to us by people who have had experience with their work to assure that the children we match them with are going to receive fulfilling, dependable instruction. We make sure these teachers are compensated for their work, as well.

Musical instruction will take place at a supervised location (to be determined). We want to make sure that lessons will be taking place in a neutral, safe environment.

As long as funding allows, we hope to be able to provide several months-worth of continued educational services to each child, which includes lessons and instrument rentals.



Why do we own a radio station? Low-power non-profit radio stations were introduced to America in the early 2000s by the FCC for the expressed purposes of raising awareness and funds for their parent non-profit organizations and to give voices to local communities in a world where many radio stations have gone national and syndicated.

We decided in April of 2016 to turn the main focus of music on this station to BLUES since a) it’s an American cultural heritage that is dying out (Did you know there are less than TEN blues radio stations in the entire United States right now?!) and b) many beginning musicians start by learning the blues.

With WDIF-LP 97.5 FM, we are able to broadcast awareness of our activities, give a voice to local people via locally-produced shows, and continue to keep alive the wonderful genre of music that is THE BLUES. Plus we can give great recognition to the companies and individuals who underwrite our organization by giving them radio announcements in return!

Here are some other interesting facts about WDIF-LP:

  • It’s the only low-power station in Marion ran by an official 501c3 charitable organization.
  • As of May 2017, it’s the only low-power station whose parent organization is current on their state taxes.
  • It’s one of only TWO 24/7 blues music radio stations in the US. The other being in Mississippi. (All other blues stations are “blues and” stations, meaning blues and jazz, blues and urban AC, etc.)
  • It’s the most popular low-power radio station in Marion County according to a survey conducted in September of 2016.




Marion Makes Music generates funds through corporate underwriters, business sponsors, and individual donations in and around the Marion community. We hold events in Marion like our Blues & BBQ Festival in the summer and our Blues Concert & Jam Series in the spring to help generate excitement for our charitable causes and foster more involvement from area businesses and people.

We also pursue grants for musical education to help “keep the lights on.”




We’d like to introduce you to the people who make our organization go go go! (Pictures & bios coming soon)

President – Spencer Phelps
1st Vice President – Don Phelps
2nd Vice President – Jordan Jolliff
At-Large Board Member – Ray Macklin
At-Large Board Member – Angie Healea