Friday, April 27, 2007

Darlene On the Air

I was on the air from 6-9 a.m. today at WUFT FM/WJUF FM, Classic 89 and Nature Coast 90, doing the last Morning Edition pledge drive. I figured we'd set a modest $3,500 goal--that's what we did the last time I was on. My co-host, Corporate Development Director Harvey Ward suggested $6,500.

"Go for it," I chuckled.

We finished three hours later at over $16,000. This, incidentally, is a new station record.

So why did we do so well? The stars were in alignment. It was the last pledge break during Morning Edition on NPR, and we always get some folks who wait until the last day. We had two experienced and lively co-hosts. The Gainesville Sun had a front page of Lifestyle article this morning on our HD radios, a special thank-you gift we're offering this drive. The HD radio is a gift at the $365 (Dollar a Day) level. During the first half hour we had a local business offer to match the first 10 pledges at $365 and we had phone volunteers who could handle the volume of calls with aplomb.

Finally, we offered two signed sets of Darlene Marshall novels at $125. We ended up getting calls for four sets, and I stepped up and said I'd be happy to bring them more books.

Harvey and I, experienced as we are, saw this wave building and focused on high end giving, hammering home the dollar a day message. It worked. We've found that excitement builds on excitement. People are more likely to phone in when they hear the phones ringing in the studio, 'cause they want to be part of something special. During our last break we had the General Manager running back and forth with new totals for us to read on the air.

Finally, we did it because our public radio stations have some of the most loyal and ardent members in the country. I'm not just saying that, the statistics bear it out.

So, well done, North Central Florida! From Suwannee down to Wildwood, you can be proud of yourselves for keeping a great public radio station able to program the music and news you want.

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