Listeners come through for public radio

AIRCHECK

April 15, 1995|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

Public radio listeners have responded to potential federal cutbacks in funding by pledging generously to station fund drives.

For example, General Manager Dennis Kita says listeners of WJHU-FM (88.1) "really came through in a big way" during the station's recent spring fund-raiser -- to the tune of almost $127,000 in pledges. The amount, from more than 2,200 callers, nearly doubled the approximately $70,000 raised in last spring's drive, he said.

"I think the debate on federal funding [of public broadcasting] helped sharpen everyone's awareness of the service we provide," Mr. Kita said.

Concern about federal cutbacks also contributed to a 20 percent rise in pledges to WBJC-FM (91.5) during the classical music station's four-day February drive, says Carey Smith, general manager. The drive, one of just two on-air efforts during the year, raised about $84,000, bringing to more than $400,000 total listener contributions so far this fiscal year, he says.

"Jazz 88" WEAA-FM (88.9), from Morgan State University, also reported a successful spring fund drive this week, with approximately $60,000 in pledges, according to on-air announcements.

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In contrasting style and size, a listener-supported station that receives no federal funds continues what it calls "The Quiet Drive."

WTMD-FM (89.7), billed as "The Breeze," is an acoustic/light jazz music station staffed mostly by students at Towson State University, and has about two weeks to go in its spring fund-raiser.

"We try to be as unobtrusive as possible," says Jim English, general manager.

Unlike the familiar hard-sell pledge breaks of many radio and television public stations, he notes, WTMD limits its appeals to just three one-minute announcements an hour. Two quiet drives are held each year.

Mr. English notes that the station is supported entirely by listeners andcontributions from the TSU student activities fund. Last fall's quiet drive raised $18,000.

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So you think you want to be a DJ? Consider today's job description for morning man Steve Rouse of WQSR-FM (105.7):

Be at Center Court of Golden Ring Mall wearing wet suit. Enter walk-in freezer. After chilling, climb into bathtub filled with melted chocolate. Don fuzzy ears and fluffy tail to become -- World's Largest Chocolate Easter Bunny!

That's the sticky stunt scheduled to begin at noon today at the mall in Essex.

*

In another listener promotion (in cooperation with Postman Plus), WBAL-AM (1090) personalities Dave Durian, Allan Prell, Alan Walden, "Detour Dave" Sandler and Bob Somerby will be at the North Gate of the Timonium Fairgrounds from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday, accepting last-minute income tax returns.

The station says the tax returns will be delivered by the midnight deadline, later this year because of the holiday weekend.

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