I recently met someone who told me that she knew I am not really as nervous as I say I am about the upcoming February 2nd fund drive. I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve done about a hundred fund drives and I worry before each and every one of them. I lose sleep; I break out into inexplicable sweats; I have nightmares. It is always up to my Roselle to remind me how people love the station, how much they depend on it and how they would never let it fail. You know that nightmare we have about the exam in the college class we never even knew we were registered for? This one is that we have a fund drive and the phones don’t ring and the on-line pledges don’t come in. Roselle always puts her hand on my neck and assures me that everything is going to be fine. And, of course, she has always been right.
Now we have the incredible Locked Box that allows people to show their love for the station by putting something into the kitty before the fund drive even begins. Every penny we receive goes toward shortening the on-air drive. As I write this, amazingly, we are getting very close to the halfway point in the entire drive.
There are people like me who love the fund drive. We see it as a crucial time when we can all get together and shout out to our friends and neighbors about what we like and what we don’t. The food is great. The volunteers are terrific and I could cry every time I see these wonderful people returning to Camp WAMC. This year, we lost one of the best, our Wayne Foote who was here in every fund drive. It breaks my heart that we won’t see him this time around.
In the end, it is always you who makes a difference. There are really good people who were raised by really good folks who understand that any cooperative enterprise is risky. It could be the food co-op in your home town or it could be your local PTA but the longer I am around, the more I understand that some people are ready to make something work and to value it appropriately. Yes, WAMC is a charitable organization and you can get that deduction but it is also an incredibly valuable service. It is a constant, stable part of our lives. When we turn the radio on in the morning, it is there. During the few times the station has gone off the air for one reason or another, we heard from so many of you. Your voices were not angry; they were concerned, like a member of the family had sustained an injury.
Personally, I feel a tremendous obligation to make it work. Every blue moon I hear from a good person who is worried about succession. Some of them put it right out there. “What will happen when you die?” The more I think about it, the more flattered I am about the question. I know it is because the person really cares about the station. Believe me, this is a terrific organization. People don’t see all the talented people who make this place run. If you listen to a fund drive you will hear less Alan and more Ray and Joe and Ian and Sarah. It should be pointed out that our fund drives are going faster and faster. Our Dona Frank, who most people don’t know, is a big part of the planning and execution as is Meegan Finnegan and fund drivers Colleen O’Connell and Felicia Berke. They work tirelessly to get all the stuff we give away during the fund drive and to round up the volunteers.
The whole thing is a huge effort, kind of like putting on a Broadway play but I wouldn’t have it any other way because it proves again and again that we are one. We all thank you for what you have done and what you are about to do.