Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Don't Turn That Dial

Here’s a note for any of you that happen to run a public radio station.  

My local alternative station recently had its first ever fund drive.  I’ve never quite figured out why we have an alternative public radio station, but we do.  I’m also not quite sure how they’ve been funded for all the years I’ve been listening to them, other than playing Jewish music Sunday mornings.  I don’t know why some Jewish contributor paid them to play music on Sundays, but they did.

If you’ve ever listened to NPR, their fund drives are long painful events.  There’s tons of chatter, stupid mugs that no one wants and every so often some actual music or other programming.  Instead of doing such a horrendous thing to us, WBER had a music marathon as their fundraiser.  They started at six in the morning playing songs from 1985, the year they started broadcasting.  For every thousand dollars donated they would move onto the next year, eventually making it to 2005 and reaching their goal of 20 thousand dollars for the year.  They set aside about a week to raise this money.

It took less than 12 hours for them to raise the twenty thousand dollars.  By the end of the day they had over 24 thousand.  How often does public radio surpass their goals?  I attribute part of this success to the fact that WBER is an awesome radio station.  They have very loyal listeners who proudly proclaim their slogan “WBER: the only station that matters.”  Despite the fact that their listeners are several decades younger than those of the classical/talk stations, they were still willing to put their money in.  I think another reason for their success is that this was a fundraiser that people actually WANTED to listen to.  I sometimes listen to other public stations, but completely avoid them while they’re raising money.  But it was really fun to find out what was cutting-edge alternative music in 1985.  The only downer was that by the time they were in the late nineties and early 2000s they were raising money so fast that they only got to play a song or two per year.  

So do yourself a favor and listen to the only station that matters.

Station of the moment:


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