Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fund Drives Fund Stations--And Shows

Tomorrow--Thursday, Oct. 1--the WMNF Fall Fund Drive gets underway.

What does that mean?

Viewed by some as the necessary evil of public radio (or public television), fund drives are those weeklong periods during which much of a station's regular programming is suspended while on air hosts, DJs and sometimes others try to urge the audience to pledge its financial support via the telephone or the Internet.

And the coin of the realm in these transactions is the premium. In this case, premium is another term for "thank you gift for your donation"...you probably know how this works: For a pledge of $50, you get this...for a pledge of $300, you'll receive this" and so on.

To sort of purposely get ahead of myself, allow me to mention some of the premiums I'll be offering on my Fund Drive show (to support "Talking Animals," the Wednesday Sonic Detour, WMNF and me):

* A two-person, four-night package for whale watching at The San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California--this is regular ol' whale watching, but communing with the so-called "friendly whales": California grey whale moms and their babies that approach you while you're in small skiffs and allow you to touch and even pet them! We devoted the May 13 edition of "Talking Animals" to this, and there are details about the package on the program website.

* One week stay in condo on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, in Poipu Beach. More details here.

* Rare Tom Waits items, signed exclusively for us by Waits!

* And lots more, from amazing concert tickets to signed CDs & books and more (details here)--exclusive to the "Talking Animals"/Sonic Detour fund drive show we'll be hosting Wednesday Oct. 7, 4-6 pm ET.

There are also lots of non-exclusive premiums, from WMNF t-shirts to HD radios, to the newly remastered Beatles' "Abbey Road" CD, and more.

For most public radio stations, including WMNF, these Fund Drives account for upwards of 70-80% of the annual budget--so, clearly, they're immensely important to the ongoing health and well-being of the shows, and station, you love and listen to.

So, I hope you'll mark your calendar for Oct. 7, and in the period between 4pm and 6pm ET, either call in a pledge (the number: 813-238-8001), or you can make a secure pledge on the WMNF website.

And we totally understand that these days many people are tightening their belts, but no pledge is too small--$35 or $50 is great!--and at the same time, WMNF has experienced some budget shortfalls and fairly grim belt-tightening of its own, so if you can spare $100, $250 or even $500, that would help us enormously.

And would get you one or more of those fabulous premiums.

In the cliche business, we call that a win-win.

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