We need just one more call…

Public-radio pledge week sucks. It sucks for everyone. My friends in public radio say they absolutely hate it. As a listener, I hate it. A full week of begging, begging, begging, all to raise a few measly tens of thousands of dollars, to keep “Fresh Air” coming for another six months.

I used to think pledge-week hell — its eerie blend of chirpiness, cheerleading and desperation — was unique to Fort Wayne, where the public-radio demographic skews old and crabby and skinflinty. I was wrong. It’s just as bad here in public-radio paradise, a city that is its natural constituency. There’s all that relentless “two more calls before the top of the hour” knuckle-biting, hosts reduced to despair by a lack of ringing phones — everything.

The worst thing about it is this: When Christian radio, also non-commercial, needs money? They do a two-day “share-a-thon,” praise Jesus to the skies, and collect about 10 times what the NPR affiliate can shake loose in eight days.

Correction: Far more than 10 times that much. The last WBCL share-a-thon raised $1.2 million.

I don’t know what Northeast Indiana Public Radio’s goal is this time, but it was around $70,000 the last time, and I don’t think they made it, for the first time in a long time.

Posted at 3:51 pm in Uncategorized |

5 responses to “We need just one more call…”

  1. alex said on October 22, 2003 at 5:12 pm

    Wow–those figures would suggest that not even ten percent “get it” down there in Hoosier Holler.

    If I still lived there I’d probably withhold my money from the public TV station and make a point of telling them I’d be glad to contribute when they start showing the things that appear in every other market, things they’re afraid will offend.

    Offend who? People who watch FOX? Or people who don’t want to hear about evolution discussed as fact? It’s not like they’re tuning in anyway, except perhaps to find something they can whine about, tax dollars going to support the antichrist, blah blah blah…

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  2. Colleen said on October 22, 2003 at 5:44 pm

    Yoo Hoo…checking in from Northeast Indiana Public Radio. We’re mid drive, our goal is 90K, and thus far, it’s going (touch wood) well.

    Yes. We hate it. And your description of the audience is…pretty good. Especially the crabby part…

    Now…off to get three more calls by 5…

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  3. Nance said on October 22, 2003 at 9:39 pm

    Great! We’ll trade you Todd Mundt for Bruce Haines, give both of ’em a little change of scenery.

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  4. Howard said on October 23, 2003 at 5:47 am

    Not to gloat, but back here in Columbus, WCBE, my favorite of our three public radio stations, conducts its pledge drives in just four days. They started last Thursday, and finished on Sunday.

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  5. michael golden said on October 23, 2003 at 8:41 pm

    I rate KXJZ, the Sacramento NPR station, as excellent all year ’round. Their pledge solicitation activities are brief, slightly tongue in cheek and conducted with a sort of “c’mon, guys, you know we gotta do this” attitude. Programming disruption is kept to an absolute minimum and they regularly cease their successful fund drive a day or half day early. KVIE, the Public TV outlet, is known locally as “the begging channel”. They have preempted regular programming with their incessant begging 17 out of the last 44 weekends. Not that I would count.

    Coincident with NPR’s fund raising activities, the Bush Administration is conducting a pledge drive of its own in Spain. They are soliciting Euro-subscribers to help underwrite their Iraqi programming. The best of Irish luck to them.

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