Saturday, March 13, 2010

'Tis the season . . .

I searched Google images for an appropriate graphic to ease us all into fundraising mode. I tried "public radio fundraising," "fundraising," "non-profit fundraising," but couldn't find anything that exuded much dignity.

Then I tried "begging," and voilĂ ! A fifteenth century bishop down on his knees, dripping with dignity!

So yes, my fellow revelers in public radio! The WMRA Festival of Fundraising starts midweek; a ritual peculiar to public broadcasting that we all go through a few times a year (with great dignity and good humor, we hope) to keep WMRA on the air. 

I'm sure it comes as no shock to you, but those of us who work at WMRA are quite honored to be able (through your support) to do what we do. I don't think it's over-the-top at all to say those of us who help make public radio also love public radio. And who better to put this into words, I thought, than Tom DuVal, WMRA's General Manager; aka, Big Boss Man.
It feels like a 6th grade writing assignment that I’ve gotten from Martha: “Why I Love Public Radio.”
Writing about what runs through your thoughts in 6th grade, or anytime, is a good exercise, however, so let me reflect upon 32 years of toiling in the public radio vineyard (14 at WMRA), and another 7 years of loyal listening before that.
I remember some of the earliest broadcasts of All Things Considered, NPR’s first program, launched in 1971. The ATC theme music still starts me thinking, however briefly, about dinner, because back in my college days that’s when I started cooking…at 5 pm…with the radio on.
For nearly four decades I’ve been learning and thinking and being amazed almost every day. By the news, by the music, by the wonder of this smorgasbord of intelligent, diverse, colorful, world-encompassing exploration, cobbled together for my edification and enjoyment.
As a part of the team that makes these moments, these insights, these enrichments happen, I’m proud to do my job. It’s rewarding to know that WMRA has a part in bringing about civil discussions of challenging issues; discussions that shed useful light rather than civic inflammation. Also, that we have a part in airing a song – or three hours of music, for that matter – that would never make it to the commercial airwaves because…well…because the music’s just too artistically good.
What have you learned from public radio? What brought a smile, a tear, a rant? What made you change your mind? What made you see something completely differently; understand it from a thoroughly alien point of view? What made you genuinely feel like a citizen of this glorious, big old world? And maybe want to change it?
For me, the greatest reward of being associated with public radio comes when a listener takes the time to tell me how we have affected him or her. When I'm given an answer to one of these questions. Even when that answer comes in the form of a complaint, I know that this person has listened and thought; that he or she has been more than a passive consumer; that this person was engaged.
WMRA’s mission is to foster informed, engaged and culturally enriched communities. All we are trying to do during our upcoming fundraiser is to raise enough money to keep on doing that. And, perhaps, even do it better.
By the way, if you want to support WMRA online right now, here's a link . . .

1 comment:

  1. I discovered All Things Considered in 1972, when I was living in Tampa FL,just by turning the dial and stopping to listen. I didn't know exactly what it was; only that it was compelling. I've been a listener ever since. NPR was much less hard news than it is now and one of the characters that I remember most is Kim Williams in Missoula, Montana. She would talk about the natural foods she ate out of her back yard and other wonders of the natural world.NPR has been a valuable source of quality information and entertainment for many years and always worth my support.