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KPFT Pledge Drive

I know that the KPFT community is weary of the fund drives.  I think programmers are too.  On my last show we took calls to discuss the station, and there were several main financial solution themes:

1) Take advertising (generally in some limited form)

2) Promote the station through other media outlets (billboards, etc.)

3) Cut staff - the station is overpopulated with paid staff

Where do I come down on all of this?  I have no problem with #1 or #2, and I don't know enough to be able to judge #3.  That said, until things change, they will stay the same, and KPFT is the best that Houston has for alternative radio.  SO: please give what you can this round.  The station has the drive because it needs the money, and from what I observe, no one is getting rich working and running around KPFT.  I'm going to try to do more of the regular show this drive, while weaving in pitches.  Since the phones are taken up with pledges, feel free to email me your comments and I'll try and get them on during the show.  The link is here on the website.  Also, the gifts I'll be offering are the books listed in the Books category here on the site. 

Feel free to use comments to this post to continue the discussion about KPFT and its finances.

Posted on May 10 by Registered CommenterLEO GOLD | Comments6 Comments

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Reader Comments (6)


I applaud your efforts in advancing the idea that there might be other ways to bring funding into KPFT other then on-1ir fund drives. In deed a large percentage of our funding does come from the 4 on-air sessions that we hold each year. Other current sources include: CPB funding, community events, matching corporate funding (a result from mostly on air drives), mail campaigns (electronic and post), car donation program, Kroger program, and grants.

The first thing that comes to mind is to mine the other opportunites already working for the station. I do not believe that any of the other avenues for funding have reached full potential.

I do not accept the notion that the staff is overpaid. If anything they are accepting in return for what they do far, far less then what they deserve. I would like to see us pay alot better. Anyone that takes an opposing view needs to walk the walk before talking aloud.

Where corporate underwriting is concerned, that to me is acceptable with very stringent guides. We already air underwritten shows so why not underwrite the station. The caviot is that underwriters, while they can be mentioned, can have no input into content, nor can they appear in anyway shape or form on-air... No air time, period.

Please bear in mind that the 36 year history of "T" and the longer history of Pacifica has seen the involvement of many brilliant minds. I never overlook the fact that we are blessed to be a link in the unbroken chain of free speech. Given that we have had so many years to think of more creative ways to raise dollars and we have come up with limited results, I really wonder if pouring our energy into better programming is not the real key to our financial health. Great radio, great media is supported greatly. Consider what I shall term mediocre support for a city the size of Houston and draw your own conclusions as to the quality of programming....

sandy weinmann
dead air, lsb, pnb
First, I believe that we need staff. When you're a struggling programmer, it may seem unfair to have those who are getting paid, but I believe that staff, those committed to hours and time should be paid. Fundraising has changed in the last few years, but the good thing about KPFT is that just because someone gives a lot of money doesn't give them the power to 'have it their way.' However, those who can 'afford' to put in the time gets more grease, so to speak, so we need to challenge ourselves to be more inclusive and sensitive to other cultures, classes, etc. What I'd like to see is more of the gift items available on the web throughout the year and perhaps a 'store' of sorts on the premises. We do need to think outside the box on self-generated advertising and promotion. We know that our listeners like the books, cds, dvds, and other promotional items throughout the year. We should take advantage of that to generate funds on non-fundraising days. P.K.
May 12 | Unregistered CommenterP.K. McCary
Thank you both for your comments.

On Thursday I tried a new thing: I offered my "day job" services (financial advisor) in exchange for $500 pledges. We received $6000 in 1 hour (12 $500 donors), exceeding Democracy Now. This was an eye opener. Duane called it "unprecedented."

I believe this model, offering personal services in exchange for station pledges, should be closely examined. There are many potential donors - masseuses, lawyers, gardeners, chefs, etc. - who would be willing to offer some service in exchange for significant pledges. These offerings hold far more appeal and value than a book or mug.

Those who provide the services receive mention on the air - but they are part of the community so it's hard to begrudge that kind of "advertising". The station gets money, and the money donor receives a service and an ongoing radio station. Everyone wins.
May 12 | Unregistered CommenterLeo Gold
On the idea of ways to raise funds, how about an online store. This would allow ya'll to collect during the entire year. Other ideas if possable is to try to get some books autographed by the authors (this would allow ya'll to ask for more. Another thing is the kpft cranker is an exclent idea. More useful items like that might work as well.
I think both Sandy and Leo have really good points to make. The quality of both the programming and the gifts being offered can help increase the number and amount of donations.

I listen to a number of publically supported radio stations while traveling around the country and it is frustrating to hear how quickly they are able to meet much larger goals than KPFT. On KUT, in Austin, even their mediocre shows have hourly goals of $6000-8000. AND THEY MAKE THEM! Granted some of the reason for that is the acceptance of underwriting donations, but that is far from all of it.

While in a perfect world there would be no question of the need for a wide variety of radio programming across the dial and no lack of funding to support that, we don't yet live in that perfect world. Unfortunately most people in this world are not going to part with their money without a feeling of getting something of equal (or close to it) value in return. Sometimes that is going to be programming, sometimes it will be gifts in return for the donations.
I have to object to point #1, although I'm sure that my reasons end up sounding like the infamous "slippery-slope" argument.

Accepting advertising has always led, wherever it's been practiced, to the advertisers feeling that they, not the listeners, should have greater control of content.

NPR is a perfect example of this as their "underwriters" have increasingly progressed from listeners who happen to be locally-owned businesses to larger corporations where decisions are made by people who don't listen to the station in question. When was the last time you heard a news report on NPR that revealed embarrasing info about one of their corporate "sponsors"?

"NPR's Morning Edition is made possible by generous grants from Enron, WorldCom and Halliburton...and of course, listeners like you."

Typically, once an organization gets "addicted" the money provided by these corporate "sponsors", they find it impossible to go back to the "shoe-string budget" on which the publicly supported organization was originally constructed. A public radio station that takes advertising will always have to maintain the attitude "We started this station without your money, and we can go on without your money, so we don't takes orders from you."
May 18 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Scott

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