In 1979 I took over the leadership of WAMC. We’ve had a lot of great fund dives. Each was known for something special that happened in that drive. One time a nasty guy called up and pledged twenty five cents with the notation “This is what you station is worth.” It was really great. The wonderful audience added a quarter to every pledge that was made throughout the drive. One can only wonder what the creep was thinking. That’s what you call comeuppance.
Another time a man went into one of our malls and bought a tee shirt inside the mall that said, “Peace on earth good will towards man.” He was promptly arrested by the authorities for political activity and that outrageous nonsense became the pass word of the drive.
But I really do have to say that in all my years I never saw anything that gave me such hope for the continuance of the station as this last fund drive. First there was the Lock Box which raised an incredible $750,000! That certainly was an all time high for the Box. No one could quite believe it. The whole concept is that if you put money in the Lock (or “locked” or “lox”) box, the hours spent necessarily raising money to run the station with would be substantially cut down. Of course, there are always the grousing gripers (GG for short) who resent time on the Round Table Panel we spend reminding people to give. Of course, what really assured us that people wanted to hear and participate in latest news was the amount of money that came pouring into the LB that spoke all we needed to hear about how valuable WAMC has become to so many people.
Frankly we just stood there with our mouths open as the money came pouring in. This was not a fooling around time. The comments which came with the money were extraordinary. One person after another said that they had no idea how we got into the political situation that we are in. Like the guy who pledged twenty five cents in that early drive I keep wondering whether Donald Trump has any idea that he’s the one who has motivated so many people took give. Sweet irony.
We saw it coming. But $250,000 in 12 hours is a lot of money. We are talking absolute all time record but YOU did it. Say it again, Sam, $250,000 in cash in one day. So much of it was thanks to the Seymour Fox Foundation who put money up to put homeless people up for a night with medical and mental health care as well as warm beds where they could sleep in some of the most erratic weather in history. Then there was the wonderful program that retired tons of carbon. I can tell you that while we had many good things to give away it is the inherent decency of our listeners that certainly carried the day.
The cast of characters as always is amazing. I truly think that Ray Graf is one of the most talented people anywhere. I have always said that he ought to be a standup comedian. There were so many times I was sipping my coffee when he made me laugh so hard that I had all I could do not to spit it out all over him.
Joe Donahue is an amazing talent. Not only does he spend incredible amounts of time on the air but his work with Sarah LaDuke and Selma Kaplan reminds me of Marathon Man. The producer of the whole shebang is the talented Amber Sickles but those are just a few of the amazing staff which just keeps on giving. No one has to be told what to do. They all know that they will do whatever has to be done.
But in the end, it’s YOU! You did it again and we did it in a day because when I said it was going to snow and we had to get it done because the volunteers were already sayin the couldn’t make it, you understood and did it. Think about $250,000 in one day. Amazing.