The Story of Here and Again Inc. and WRWO 94.5 FM
by Here and Again Inc. founder Katie Troccoli
Hi! I’m Katie Troccoli, founder of Here and Again Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Ottawa, IL for the purpose of creating economic and creative opportunities in the arts in the Illinois Valley and beyond. I’d like to share with you the story of how we began, challenges we've faced, and what we're doing to change the face of artistic culture in the Illinois Valley.
I purchased the Majestic Theater in Streator with the intention of creating a space for local talent to be showcased. From 2009 to 2014 I, with the help of a dedicated team, operated the theater through highs and lows. In time, I began to grapple with the steep cost of booking blockbuster movies that were sometimes just painful to watch when there was so much talent right here in the Illinois Valley area. I began to form a vision for creating opportunities for local art and entertainment. We could feature movies, music, short videos, and commercials made by local artists. This was my inspiration for creating Here and Again Inc. If you’ve ever seen the movie Field of Dreams, you are familiar with the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.” So, I began the paperwork to form a non-profit organization. I called a few trusted friends and family members to form our first Board of Directors. I really thought that our first projects would be in film, but life hardly ever goes according to plan.
One day while, shortly after starting the paperwork for NPO status, a local pastor came into the Majestic to get some popcorn for his youth group. While the popcorn was popping, I gave him my elevator pitch for Here and Again Inc. He listened politely and left with his popcorn. I had no idea that this encounter would change my life. About a week later the pastor returned and said, “Katie I have someone you need to meet. He wants to start a radio station and needs a non-profit group to move forward. Will you come to a meeting at my house and meet with him?” I agreed. At the meeting I met Greg and Marjory Haynes and we discussed the possibility of a community radio station. We all agreed that it would no doubt have a positive impact on the community. Thus, our first project WRWO 94.5 FM/LP was born! This gave me the motivation to officially apply for NPO status...and just in time!
Managing the Majestic was becoming difficult due to Hollywood's switch to digital format for their films. We received a lot of help and a large donation from Bob Endres, a Streator native, to get the projectors, but due to extreme and unjust business conflicts, I almost lost the Majestic. During that time, I had to find a safe location for the projectors, as advised by my attorney. But in the time it took to sort all of it out, weather, age, and vandalism had its toll on the Majestic theater. On top of all of this, we were struggling to find the perfect place to base the radio station. It was all very stressful, to say the least, and things looked pretty bleak.
However, as things went on I gained full possession of the Majestic. In the process, I obtained the historic Will Rogers theater in Charleston, IL, creating even more opportunity for Here and Again Inc. We found the perfect place to broadcast WRWO from in Downtown Ottawa, in the place now called Wallace Hall. Though it has in no way been easy, things are falling into place through faith and with the help from many dear family and friends. It’s quite a story already, but it’s not over yet!
Here and Again, Inc.’s purpose is to raise the quality of life in the community through the use of education in the arts, music, radio and other media; to have a positive impact on the people and community in which we live and work. Our mission is to further preserve architecture used in communication, theatre, and the arts where our positive works may be displayed and used. The intent is to further employment opportunities and training through the use of our education programs and architecture which becomes an anchor for distressed communities. After all, “If you build it, they will come.” We invite you to help us build a flourishing local arts community. Please consider partnering with Here and Again Inc. to help further opportunities in the arts for the Illinois River Valley area.
We look forward to serving our community together with you!