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Auction - History
April 27th - 30th, 2017
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The WTVP 44th Annual Live Auction has come to a close. Thank you for supporting your public media station, WTVP, Public Media for Central Illinois!
The WTVP Auction - the beginnings...

Auction History - Expo Gardens Opera HouseThe WTVP Channel 47 Auction was a concept brought to Peoria by the first Station Manager, Elwin Basquin, in 1972. WTVP Board approval came only after Lakeview Museum, who conducted a fundraising auction every 2 years, was assured that WTVP would guarantee they would not lose money! The Friends of 47 volunteer organization would organize and recruit volunteers - led by Friends President (former mayor) Bob Lenhausen and Chairman, Mrs. Louise (Judge Jay) Alloy. The Auction was set for the spring of 1974.

The part time TV and Bradley staff scouted a site (Opera House, Expo Gardens) to televise it for 4 nights, located a TV mobile production truck (WRC, Memphis), ran power (CILCO), located microwave and lighting equipment, and designed a remote telephone system (Illinois Bell). All were donated except the rental of the TV truck.

Auction History - Chalk BoardMeanwhile, a couple carloads of volunteer leaders visited existing TV auctions in Indianapolis and St. Louis. A production group laid out plans for sets and scenery for the Opera House layout, plus a metal Quonset building for warehousing merchandise and supplies. Another group of volunteers began soliciting merchants for items to auction off, with emphasis on local creative specialty events with leadership coming from the Sisterhood of Anshai Emeth Temple. Others contacted major businesses to underwrite the TV cost(sponsorship) of the event such as Caterpillar Inc., Better Banks, and Illinois Mutual Insurance.

Auction History Star Wars CharactorsThe "show" would emphasize selling merchandise, but with plenty of show business and some entertainment to attract viewers.

The result of this first-ever TV auction? $47,000 and involving more than 300 volunteers.

[Foot note: The Lakeview Museum auction the following year made more money than ever before.]

[Click on photos to view a larger version]

The WTVP Auction - the history continues...

Auction History Civic CenterAfter 14 years of the Auction thriving in the Opera House at Exposition Gardens, the decision was made to move to a bigger site...the Peoria Civic Center. So in 1988, the auction took on a whole new look with printed boards and the use of overhead projectors, but we retained many of the same features our bidders counted on. We still offered amazing merchandise from many of our continuing and faithful donors, but we also brought in new donors and increased the amount of items up for bid. Our volunteers enjoyed the extra space for conducting training and for auction merchandise storage. We appreciated the partnership WTVP now had with the staff of the Peoria Civic Center.

Auction History Civic CenterIn 2003, WTVP constructed and built our own broadcast center down on the Peoria Riverfront. Our new facility allowed us to bring the auction into our own building for the very first time. Our volunteers were up for the challenge in determining where each of the 20 areas would be placed throughout the building. For one week out of the year, our office space is re-structured to make all of these areas fit. We also updated the look of the merchandise boards by now having them generated through our own inventory system on the computer. So, the overheads were out and computers were in.

We rely heavily on our community to not only provide wonderful merchandise and certificates for sale, but many in-kind services and equipment to make this auction come alive and be successful year after year. The partnerships and relationships we establish and strengthen with the auction furthers our cause of bringing you the best television on television, WTVP, operating 3 channels to serve this great community.

Contact us

If you have question about the WTVP Auction, to make a donation, or to volunteer please contact the WTVP Development office.

WTVP Development

ATTN: Luann Caludin, Auction Director
101 State Street
Peoria, Illinois 61602

Voice: (309) 495-0547
Fax: (309) 677-4730
auction@wtvp.org

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