Well, the die is cast. The election is over and now we have to live with the results until 2020. My best guess is that those who have differences with the incoming President will have to make adjustments. From where I'm sitting, WAMC is one such adjustment. We have a budget that hovers around $7,000,000. About $419,000 comes from the federal government. Because of you, I am not worried. Our fund drives are marvels. It has always been true that the rougher things are, the more we all end up pulling together. That really is the story of WAMC from Day One.
If it turns out that the Congress does what it has threatened to do and strips funding from public broadcasting, we will have to make some serious choices. We could eliminate many of our best programs but that’s the last thing I’d want to do.
We have all built this magnificent station together. About 400,000 people listen to WAMC in a monthut b the number of contributors is just a fraction of that huge number of listeners. So, if we were all to deputize ourselves and go to just a few of our best friends who do not contribute yet, we could make up the short fall. Some people argue that we should not be taking money from the federal government at all. I have known man politicians in my day and most (but not all) of them treat the public’s money as if it were their own.
That, by the way, is why we have a First Amendment Fund. We established it for situations just like this one. We always need to have a contingency fund when someone or something puts the screws to us. Now is the time to grow that fund, from the couple of hundred thousand dollars that we now have to millions. Obviously, we are not in New York City or Los Angeles, which have much bigger populations and a lot of really well heeled people who can make giant contributions -- but also try to call the shots.
The whole idea is to get everyone to do something, no matter how small the contribution. That's what happened when Bernie Sanders ran in the primaries. The assumption was that the big boys and girls had it all sewn up because of all the Goldman Sachs people giving enormous amounts of money. The truth is, and we all know it, that when someone gives you $27 or even $5,000, no one gets to threaten and to have their way. I have been hearing from some of the trolls who say that the station is too liberal or too conservative and that until we do what they want, they won’t give us a dime. Of course, they know that they are infuriating me but long ago I learned to contain myself and just write, "Thank you." Sometimes when the bullying gets too heinous I don’t even answer.
In fact, there seems to be more bullying in my mail now, most coming from one side. It's as if someone threw a switch that lit up a neon sign that read, "You are free to bully away now." We've seen it in the schools and on the streets and bullying directed at minorities.
So, WAMC needs to stand tall. I'll do my best not to let you down but we'll need all the help we can get. When we stand together, Republicans and Democrats; college graduates and high school graduates, we will not fail. Now is the time for courage. People write and ask, "What can I do?" Courage is the word of the day.