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Chicago Public Radio's Fundraising Antics

WBEZ's Pledge Drive BINGO

WBEZ's Pledge Drive BINGO

Fundraiser season continues at non-profit radio stations all over the country. Princeton’s station WPRB (apparently the oldest FM college radio station in the country, founded in 1940) ends their week-long fundraiser tomorrow. My own station KFJC (turning 50 next week) is pitching for cash until the station reaches its goal. And, Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ is also pimping for dollars.

One of my favorite things to do during fundraiser time is to listen to public radio and make fun of the horrificly long and boring breaks, in which hosts rattle off lists of thank you gifts and sponsors. So, I’m actually pretty impressed that WBEZ realizes the degree to which these breaks have become predictably mundane and has decided to make fun of itself.

The WBEZ blog has a bunch of fundraiser-specific content, including DJ trading cards and a pledge drive bingo. You can follow along at home and yell “BINGO” when an announcer utters words and phrases like “tote,” and “join the WBEZ family.” Those who score BINGO are invited to comment on the blog. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like their listeners actually have a sense of humor about the fundraiser, as the only comments thus far are complaints about the “incessant prattle” and the programming decision to drop “Talk of the Nation.”

Have you heard anything on the radio that makes you want to listen to an on-air fundraiser? What makes you turn the dial?

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One Response to Chicago Public Radio's Fundraising Antics

  1. Paul Riismandel October 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    I’ve been listening to WBEZ’s pledge drive now for going on two weeks. And while they’re cheekier than a lot of stations, it still grinds on.

    After living in Chicago and listening to WBEZ daily for about 18 months what strikes me about the station is that it has more youthful vibe than a lot of other news/talk public station. And by youthful, I mean it seems to be both staffed by and targeted at Generation X, rather than boomers. I think that’s why they feel free to be a little self-referentially ironic with their pledge drives.

    While they seem to shift up the pairings of air staff to do the pitching each day, they seem to be working a little hard to keep it fresh, and not all that successfully. Their best stuff comes when This American Life creator Ira Glass graces them with his presence, either live or via tape.

    Otherwise, like the children of Lake Wobegon, their pledge raps are above average, but not entertaining enough.

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