Enlightened Self-Interest

Next week we begin the WTJU Classical Marathon, “A Musical Offering.” We’ll be celebrating classical music in all its diversity, but more importantly, we’ll be asking our listeners to pledge their financial support to WTJU.

A public radio station fund-raising is nothing new — and neither is the challenge. After all, we’re trying to persuade someone to pay for something they get for free. It’s difficult, but in a way, it shouldn’t be. Because what it all comes down to is enlightened self-interest.

Here’s what I mean:

Q: Should you pledge to WTJU because it’s a wonderful, unique station?
A: No.
Q: Should you pledge to WTJU because you love its wonderful, unique programming?
A: You bet!
Q: Should you pledge to WTJU so that others can enjoy its remarkably wide range of music and public affairs programming?
A: No.
Q: Should you pledge to WTJU because you enjoy its remarkably wide range of music and public affairs programming?
A: You’d better, if you want it to continue.
See, our fund drive (or any public radio/TV fund drive for that matter), is really all about you, the listener. Unfortunately, public broadcasting isn’t fully funded from government or business resources. So every broadcaster — WTJU included — has to rely on direct financial support from its listeners.
Over half of our operating budget has to be raised directly from our listeners. So your decision to pledge — or not to pledge — is critical. Especially if you consider that only about 10% of a public broadcaster’s audience actually pledge (according to some studies).
If every single person who listened to WTJU pledged $50, we would be fully funded for the entire year. And then the Classical Marathon could just be about the music. But with only 10% participation, the reality is quite different.

Your pledge counts. And because (statistically) you’ll be in the minority, your pledge counts even more.

But don’t feel obliged to pledge just to make up for the 90% who won’t. Your pledge benefits the station, but it also benefits you.

Your pledge ensures that the transmitter will stay in good repair, that we’ll be able to continue to offer the services you expect, and even expand on those services.

And why is that important? Because it makes a better listening experience for you.
We might talk a lot about the radio station this next week as we try to persuade some of that 90% to come on over. But really, this fund drive is all about you.
So please do the right thing — for yourself. Consider your pledge a form of enlightened self-interest.
(And you don’t even have to do it during the marathon. You can pledge online anytime 24/7)

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