Despite Fears, Pledge-Drive Dollars Rise at Public Stations
September 5, 2009, The Washington Post — With the country beset by recession, layoffs and mortgage woes, officials at Washington public radio station WAMU-FM have been understandably nervous about their on-air fundraisers over the past year. As each pledge drive approached, the same question loomed: Would listeners continue to heed the station's plea for dollars?
The answer, it turns out, has been surprising. Each of the station's past three quarterly drives has set records, including the most recent one in May. Four months into its new fiscal year, donations are 50 percent higher than at the same time last year, and membership -- public broadcasting-speak for people who contribute -- is up 53 percent. "We're getting astounding numbers," says Walt Gillette, WAMU's head of fundraising.