WFMT-FM (98.7) and WBEZ-FM (91.5), two Chicago radio stations that take in a significant part of their respective operating budgets from listener contributions, have both met or exceeded their fund raising goals in just-completed pledge drives.
Fine arts station WFMT set a goal of $525,000 for its recently-completed 10-day winter pledge drive, and it reached that goal on the 10th day with some 8 1/2 hours to spare before the drive was set to end.
During an eight-day pledge drive that ended Mar. 10, public radio station WBEZ secured 9,198 donations that generated revenue of $1.12 million, well above the $1 million set for the drive. The successful pledge drives at both stations suggest the public appears to be in more of a giving mood as the economy starts to turn around.
Still, WFMT used all kinds of inducements to get listeners to pledge funds. Among other things the station experimented with a "$50,000 by mid-day" strategy. The station promised to break from fund raising for the rest of one day if it could raise $50,000 by 1 p.m., which it did. And the audience for WFMT's "The Midnight Special" once again proved especially generous. They contributed five percent of the station's total fund raising goal in just four hours.
At WBEZ, 44 percent of the donors during the just-completed drive were new members to the station, a number that is typically closer to 20 to 30 percent. The monies raised at WBEZ represent about 5.6 percent of the station's total operating budget.