Meet My Job, Part 4: Make a Pledge, Create a Shift
As I have discussed throughout this week, my role as the Morning Engineer at WAMU is to work closely with our morning host, Matt McCleskey, to plan and put together the best combination of national content fed to us by NPR, local content provided by our newsroom, and local promos and underwriting to inform our listeners and pay our bills.
But in public radio, there is one particular event that occurs two or three times per year that listeners may not be wild about hearing, but is nevertheless necessary to keep WAMU afloat. I speak, of course, of the pledge drive — or as we call it, the membership campaign.
During membership campaigns, we dedicate time during our shows to ask our listeners to donate to the station in order to support our programming costs. Some listeners may not be wild about it, but the fact remains that pledge drives are an effective fundraising tool. After all, if listeners are going to pay to support public radio, you have to ask them for their support, and remind them of why they should invest in the station they listen to.
The membership campaign is an all-hands-on-deck kind of week at WAMU. But while many — if not most — of the staff are focused on encouraging listeners to donate, my job as an engineer is to carve out airtime to allow our hosts and staff to pitch to the listeners.