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Going Strong Because Of You

In many ways, WAMC is a miracle. You are the reason for that. It’s hard to believe that we just had a fund drive. Was that a dream? $700,000 dollars in the Locked Box -- I certainly never thought that was possible. We reminded folks during the course of regular programming why we needed to get it done and sure enough, it happened. I mean, $700,000 dollars! Of course, there were a few (very few) blue meanies who said that we had some nerve asking for the money. Our answer was that things were simply happening too quickly. The Trump impeachment story, for one, just kept coming. That was not something that we could afford to ignore and, like I said, all we kept getting from our listeners was love. Oh, a few people said that they wished for a longer fund drive and all the fun that goes with those efforts, but there you were!

You will not see that kind of thing anywhere else in America. What’s great about it, of course, is the fact that everyone gives what they can. When I took over the management of the station in 1979, we had a regular charge for membership. It was $25. I knew that was nonsense. We soon shifted to “give what you can” model and it worked. Pretty soon there were some who gave $5 and there were plenty of you who pointed out that WAMC was certainly worth $3 a day. Compared to many newspapers, that was some value, right? Think of the newspapers and what you get from the radio. WAMC is there 24/7. Night or day, it is a best friend, always with you no matter how up or down you are. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that when they sleep, the radio is always on. In our house, Roselle always leaves the radio on for Murray the dog, who has been known to look up at the radio when it was not on and let out a loud bark. Funny how he stops barking when it is turned on.

Once we came to the regular, on-air portion of the drive, there you were again. It took one day and one hour. Incredible! From the moment we started at 6:00 AM, it was clear that we were heading for a record. People were calling in with very generous challenges and saying, “I’ll give you $10,000 if you can raise $25,000 in an hour” and I’ll be damned if you didn’t do it.

We recently lost our wonderful and irreplaceable board member Judy Grunberg. Every drive, there she would be with a generous challenge. I don’t think that she ever missed. Most of the time it was $10,000 and that was always the most generous pledge of all. Funny how those matches work. She never wanted her name used but everyone seemed to know who this “wonderful lady from Chatham” was. I have always said that her generosity was nothing compared to her contributions on the board itself. Believe me, money was secondary to her wisdom and kindness. My heart still aches that she is gone but she sure set an example for all the other folks who have been sending in magnificent challenges in each drive. I can’t begin to tell you how I miss Judy. Once, when asked by someone what WAMC would do when I died, she was heard to retort, “We’ll find someone else.” Whenever I’m down, I think of that line. The fact is, you have all made this station so strong that we will continue because of you!

Dear friends, everyone at the station is incredibly appreciative of what you have done. Because in the end, it’s each individual making up their own mind that in a time of great danger we need WAMC to speak out the truth. Just one more time, thanks everything you have done.

Dr. Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the University at Albany. He hosts the weekly Capitol Connection series, heard on public radio stations around New York. The program, for almost 12 years, highlighted interviews with Governor Mario Cuomo and now continues with conversations with state political leaders. Dr. Chartock also appears each week on The Media Project and The Roundtable and offers commentary on Morning Edition, weekdays at 7:40 a.m.
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