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.