Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If I give you money, will you just shut up?

Fall is my favorite season. I love the smell of the air on those warm days that remind us of summer. I love the colors of the trees. I love the crunch of leaves on pavement. I love to scuffle those leaves and send them flying. I love the cool windy days which are a harbinger of the crisp autumn of November with a promise of snow. I love pumpkins and squash and a zillion varieties of apples in baskets at the farmer's market. I love the smell of freshly harvested cornfields and seeing the combines working into the night on those clear autumn nights when the stars go on forever into the sky.

I hate pledge drives.

If there is one thing fall is known for it's pledge drives. Everyone calls seeking money. Everyone interrupts their programming to remind you to give, give, give. Go away.

I say this because my favorite radio station, WDCB 90.9 fm, is in the first days of a pledge drive. I awaken to AP Radio News, local news and then a jazz song followed by 10 minutes of, essentially, give or we'll hold Miles Davis hostage. They think they are cute, laughing on air about the lack of phones ringing. WDCB says they need $239,000 from the public and, after one day, they had raised $6,000 of that. "We'll be on the air until we get it, folks." Oh please.

Don't get me wrong. I completely and fully understand why they have to shill for funds. Grants make up only part of their operating budget. Even a college station must turn to listeners to make up the rest of what they need to operate. In today's economic climate, grant money has dwindled and it's just plain tough to make the ends meet. While many of the on-air personalities, particularly the ones who have a once a week gig, are volunteer, there is maintenance and staff for phones and music to purchase and licenses to renew. I know all that and I understand why they have to ask for money. It can't be any fun for the DJ's either, to turn over 65% of their air time to Jeff who then practically begs people to send in "any amount you can spare".

It's the end of the month and I have bills to pay and a car to fix. I really want to send them some money just as a show of support. I'm not sure the budget will stretch that far. But even if I do, I'll still have to listen to Jeff until the $239,000 is pledged. I just want some Ella, some Louie, some Frank, some Gene, some Houston, some Benny. I don't want another 10 minutes of why.

Now where did I put that Al Hirt CD?

Beverage: Huckleberry tea


1 comment:

  1. As a radio station news host, former DJ (or announcer as we classical people like to call it), and Fund Drive Development assistant, I can say with certainty - it is NO fun. It is exhausting, tedious, repetative, dirty work (asking for money over and over and over)and busy. That being said, it is also enjoyable to work with the volunteers working the phones, nice to hear the comments from listeners, and usually by the end of the week, we are all silly with fatigue. It is also rewarding when the goal is reached (and incredibly disappointing and frustrating when we do not). Fortunately, we have been lucky and have reached the goal more often than not. We have one coming up in a couple of weeks (groan)...