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Posted on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

Michigan Radio, WEMU wrap up successful spring fund-raising drives

By Bob Needham

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.


David Briegel

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Moscow, I used to listen to his show till he started talking too much. I can't bear anything on His staion except the local news, traffic and weather. Then I change the dial! The stunning lack of balance is simply overbearing and bankrupt of any honesty. In Ann Arbor we are very fortunate to have both public stations. With the wasteland on the rest of the dial, it is indeed a treat to listen to such quality programming. They are quite worthy of our support!

Moscow On The Huron

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

I gave to WEMU until they got rid of Thayrone's Bone Conduction Music Show, which was the best thing they had going for them.

Go Blue

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Having been a 30 year fan of WUOM, I finally gave up as it changed from being a strong community voice to more and ultimately, only canned venues. After trying WEMU, it was a no brainer. Local voices, strong community involvement, highly knowledgeable in their field. Put down your phone and try it some time. Local weather, news, community events and real people that actually live in the listening area. When you call in, you get a real, local person. Like going to a local restaurant and getting real food versus heading over to those golden arches.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

I stopped giving money to WUOM after the Juan Williams censorship & firing incident. I still gave to WEMU though. WUOM is all NPR produced stuff from Washington and NYC. No local content at all other than the half hourly news & weather.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

We are very lucky here to have two great local public radio stations each with its own strengths. But WEMU is my favorite for it emphasis on local news and for the jazz and blues programing that has to be among the best in the country and I am proud to support it.

Lynn Liston

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

I love WEMU's fabulous jazz programming and informed jazz hosts, as well as their community ties to the Michigan Theater, The Ark, and UMS. Their local news and reporting is stellar! They broke their fund-raising record- that shows you how much their listeners value their irreplaceable contributions to the communities of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Way to go, WEMU!

Bertha Venation

Fri, Mar 25, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

Love EMU's local traffic, weather, news, Great jazz and blues. WUOM is canned NPR nationwide.... however, it does put me to sleep at night.