Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Overdrive

By this morning, WAMC was already $476,000 into their $700,000 Winter fund drive. The listeners are a generous and supportive bunch who love the station ---especially odd for people the TU's Mark McGuire says are being shaken down.

There's always a bit of fund drive quid pro quo in public broadcasting: You support this program and we'll be sure it stays on the air. Sounds reasonable, but this time around, a group of listeners are trying to turn the tables and compel the station to pick up the show Democracy Now.

Democracy Now is to the left what Rush Limbaugh is to the right, but without the sense of humor. The show can now be heard on WRPI and a bunch of small college and community radio stations, but nothing that matches the clout of WAMC's huge coverage area. That's why a Hudson Valley group called Northeast Citizens for Responsible Media has organized a campaign to get Democracy Now on the station. They're urging supporters to voice their request for the show when they make a pledge ---or to call and say they will withhold some or all of their money until Democracy Now gets on WAMC.

Listening to Alan Chartock, it doesn't sound like this tactic will get them anywhere. While reading pledges on-air, he's turned down money that's given conditionally, even tearing up one or two of the pledge forms on the air. And judging by how fast the fund drive is moving, the Democracy Now folks might best set their sights on Spring.