The Edge Effect

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry DJ

So it's NPR pledge drive time again. Is it just me or do they seem more demanding and even downright scornful this time?

I was in Arkansas a couple of years ago during pledge drive time. It was really eye-opening to see how differently the pledge drive is handled in areas where the listenership is significantly lower.

As I drove from St Louis, to Fayetteville, to a family get together in southern Kansas, and back to StL, I heard the whole range of approaches. The common theme in Arkansas and southwest Missouri seemed to be to invoke Car Talk as often as possible. They kept saying things like "even if you only listen to Car Talk please support it." They must have listener data that says that it is by far their most popular show (and I imagine it is in Ann Arbor as well), but I found it odd that they would use that line even during news and afternoon talk shows. It was also surprising to hear how low their fund-raising goals were compared to big markets like St Louis or Ann Arbor.

I feel lucky to live somewhere with such a good NPR lineup. In other places where I spend time, you get Car Talk and one or two other weekend shows, but during the week it's usually just classical music and maybe Talk of the Nation or something in the evening. It makes me feel conflicted about where to send my very limited donation. C joined Michigan Radio in my name for my birthday this year, which is ideal since I listen to it constantly. But I sometimes wonder if we shouldn't send our money to the Nebraska Public Radio Network or some place where it is really needed.

I guess once we strike it rich from sales of our DVD case invention we can support as many stations as we want.