Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tales from the Fund Drive

WAMC Fund DriveIt only took 22 minutes Monday morning to hear my favorite WAMC fund drive story, Alan Chartock's classic account of the "small liberal arts college" incident. It's the one about how he and David Galletly were summoned to meet with some local bigwigs about the future of the radio station, but what the bigwigs had in mind was more a shake down than a business meeting.
Come to our campus, they said, but don't ever utter the word "abortion" on the air. Your board of directors? Our people will control it, and if you turn us down on this, we'll see that your station loses all its funding. Alan has never named the college or the prominent business leaders in question, but it's clear who they are ---just as it's clear that what they wanted was to steal the soul of the radio station. Alan and David walked out and the rest became the stuff of fund drive mythology.

I could be wrong, but I think 6:22am was the earliest I've ever heard this one.

The station needs to raise 700 thousand dollars to meet operating expenses, so they're back at doing what they do second best. I say second best because what they do best is make good radio. What they do second best is motivate their audience to support what they're doing.
I've heard people on commercial stations run down WAMC, derisively calling what goes on there as a "begathon". To them, let me ask this: How much money would your listeners pay to keep you on the air?