Dear WAMC friends,
YOU did it. I am truly humbled and amazed and delighted about the success of the Locked Box and the subsequent eighteen-hour fund drive. Shortly after it ended, the newspapers called me up and asked me why things went so fast. I opined that our success could be attributed to the fact that Donald Trump was so abhorred and feared by much of our audience that they needed the radio station like never before. They were happy to put their money behind what they saw as a fearless institution.
Unlike many other radio stations, WAMC reads every single fund drive comment that comes in over the air. That’s a big part of the fun. Comment after comment praised the courage and depth of the station. Almost everyone referred to the morning Roundtable Panel in which all sides of every issue are discussed and where your letters are read aloud for the panel to dissect. There is no subject, from health care to gerrymandering, that hasn’t been taken up by the panel whose participants change from day to day.
It’s interesting. There are many times when we disagree with each other but it is always done with respect and, really, love. Most people get that but there are always a few who just don’t admire debate. Nevertheless, there are huge numbers of people listening to the show and sending us tons of letters every day. Something is working.
Of course, what with the panelists and the news we only get to read a very small number of the letters that we receive. Most people understand but I get a very occasional letter from someone who thinks that we are purposely discriminating against them, even though the same exact point that they are making has been made by other letter writers countless numbers of times.
Anyway, those of us who are on the air during a fund drive certainly get too much credit. The credit should certainly be shared with the real unsung heroes who do all the prep work. That involves calling restaurants to get meals for all the volunteers and calling the volunteers to make sure that our nineteen phones are fully “personed” at every moment of the day. Then there are the countless skull sessions that we all have in my office and just about everywhere else in our building that involve the next strategy that we will employ for the next team that goes on the air.
Lately we have been having quite a time just keeping up with all the calls and all the pledges that come in online. Remember that we are making as much money in just about one day as we used to make in six or seven days or more. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me that they were driving around on a Wednesday or a Thursday and decided to turn on the radio to see how the fund drive was going only to realize to their great shock that it was over. They report that they couldn’t believe it. Some of those very same people have confessed to me that they love the fund drive -- all the names and the interactions and the clowning around and the serious moments that we all share.
Some people have been very kind and have suggested that, “Ray and Alan should really have their own show,” to which we say, “We do, right now during the drive.”
I can’t tell you how many times people have reached back and done incredibly generous things that leave me aghast. One wonderful woman called up and gave us $25,000 on a credit card. We met that challenge to raise another $50,000 in a few hours. I spoke to her and she said that she had faced a serious illness and had come away determined to support all those things that she believed in. As she said that, I can tell you I had tears in my eyes. What a group you are!