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Commentary & Opinion
Fri January 31, 2014
Into The Fray
The fund drive is upon us. As I write this, there is over $350,000 in the Locked (Lock or Lox) Box. That is incredible. What a crew! What a community! The truth is that we have all made this radio station what it is. So when we have a fund drive it is a festival. In each society there are celebrations that bring a community together. Many of you took an anthropology course or belong to a social or spiritual group in which the interdependency of everyone in the group is emphasized. No one has to talk anyone else into anything -- people do what they need to because it's the right thing to do. They give what they can. Think about any community gathering. Some people bring cakes and cookies. Others make a plate of chicken or meatballs or tuna noodle casserole and there are always those who say, “I have a little more so let me help pay for all of this.” That’s the way the Fire Island community was when I was a kid. Every year, someone among the Island’s literati would write a song about things that had happened during the year.
You can decide for yourself what the radio station means to you. This is not a case of the tax man cometh with his or her hand out, demanding that you pay or go to jail. This is not like buying the New York Times and then paying the man the money before he hands it over. You can ask yourself questions like, “How often do I really listen to the radio?” Or, “Is there one show like All Things Considered or Morning Edition that I listen to nearly every day?" What a about the Media Project, 52 weeks a year? It might surprise you that Ira Fusfeld and Rex Smith do that show because they want to put something in the pot. Of course, they don't get a dime for doing it. Then, too, there are the thousands of individuals who pick up the phone and dial 1-800-323-9262 or who go to WAMC.org and hit “pledge now.” WAMC should be studied by the anthropologists and, in fact, may be, hundreds or thousands of years in the future.
Of course, what you now hear may be delivered over what we now call a radio but increasingly we hear from people in Australia or China who are listening on their computers or who have been sent a podcast of a show that meant something to someone else. We hear from people who attest that our Medical Monday Vox Pop show helped to save their life. The technology may change, but what we do will not.
In fact, every time you support the station you help us prevent osteoporosis as in you build up our back bone. To tell you that we have been threatened by politicians and some very strange individuals is to put it mildly. But when they see million dollar fund drives that go quicker and quicker, they think twice before they proceed to that next step designed to make us retreat in what we offer. Dr. Alan Miller, our patron saint, counseled us early and often to run our own race and never to stop doing what we were doing because someone attacked or competed in an unhealthy manner. He was right then and he is right now. We should never waste our time being defensive. I have always had a rule -- when people with blood in their eyes write, they almost always get the courtesy of a reply. When they come back for round two, I seldom if ever answer. You never want to engage an angry, hostile person who has nothing to do but send e-mail or anonymous comments that often resort to calling names.
No, we have the best audience in the whole world. We come together to celebrate three times a year and we have the best of motivations. We like what we have. As a result, we love all those people who bring something to the table and we feel badly for those who don’t get the whole thing. We thank you for what you have done to help. Here we go, once more into the fray.