Your financial support can reduce on-air pledging

By Rick Johnson -

I’ve responded to a number of viewers (and a few listeners) in the past month who have complained about the length of our on-air fundraising drives and the repetitive program scheduling.
I have been in the public media business since 1978. On-air fundraising has been No. 1 on the complaint list for all 40 of those years. It has been the focus of countless blue-ribbon committees looking for alternatives and the subject of much derision both inside and outside the public media community.
But it is a reality that we as an industry must live with in order to meet our payroll and programming obligations that are brought to you, pledge free, for the remaining 75 percent of the year.
We have a member base of roughly 16,000 individual supporters. That’s 16,000 members or less than 2 percent of the 900,000 viewers and listeners who use our services monthly. As you might imagine, we are very grateful for that 2 percent as they are responsible for providing more than half of our annual cash budget.
We have made great progress in our radio fundraising and have cut the number of our live pledge days drastically over the past several years.
TV is a different animal. “Mission” programming simply doesn’t work as a fundraising vehicle so we have to resort to using the relatively few pledge specials to which donors respond.
We are developing alternative fundraising initiatives – with particular emphasis on major gift cultivation – and as those efforts come to fruition, they will allow us to cut back our on-air fundraising altogether.
Please bear with us as we move in that direction. If you’re a member of that 2 percent club, thank you for your support! If not, please consider making an investment in WGCU’s future today.

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