Michigan Radio, WEMU wrap up successful spring fund-raising drives
Both of Washtenaw County's public-radio operations this week announced successful spring fund-raising drives.
WEMU (89.1-FM), the public-radio station at Eastern Michigan University, recorded an all-time fund-raising record. Michigan Radio, the University of Michigan-based service that operates WUOM (91.7-FM) as well as stations in Grand Rapids and Flint, raised $133,000 in a single "power hour" on the first day of donations.
Both stations reported that recent challenges to federal funding of public radio seemed to energize supporters.
Michigan radio reported 8,500 pledges totaling more than $980,000, an increase of more than 30 percent over last year. In the "power hour" effort, the station tried to raise the goal for an entire day in one hour; the station exceeded its goal of $90,000 by 48 percent, according to an announcement. “We have deep appreciation for all of our listeners who support us so generously,” Michigan Radio Director of Broadcasting Steve Schram said in the announcement. “With this outstanding commitment, Michigan Radio looks forward to continuing our service to the community with in-depth news, talk and intelligent analysis, as we have for over 60 years.”
Meanwhile, WEMU shattered both its all-time fundraising record and its goal for this drive. The total $162,083 raised is WEMU's best ever, exceeding the goal of $145,000 by 12 percent. Last fall's drive held WEMU's previous record for a single fund drive, at $152,000.
“More than anything, these results tell us that listeners like what we do,” said General Manager Molly Motherwell in a prepared statement. “With the current threats to federal and state (through higher education appropriations) funding, we told them that the best way to assure a strong and sustainable WEMU for the future was to come through with more support. And they did, in record numbers.
“Our listeners understand that our federal grant (roughly 20 percent of WEMU’s overall budget) is a very important part of our budget and its loss could have a huge impact,” Motherwell continued. “Not only did they advocate for continued funding to their legislators but they also increased their giving so that WEMU can maintain its current level of service if funding is cut. They sent a definite message through their giving and all of us at the station appreciate their support so much. Michigan’s been through some pretty tough times which makes this record support all the more gratifying. Clearly WEMU has an impact in the community.”
The announcement from Michigan Radio also said that comments from donors showed that the federal funding issue encourage many listeners to contribute.