If there’s one thing I know about our WAMC listeners, it’s that you’re there for us when we need you. Over 30 years worth of fund drives have proven that. You know that when we ask, it’s because we truly can’t do it without you. Sometimes we find people who really love the station and can afford to do more, and such is the case now.
I recently had the real pleasure of spending some time at the WAMC studios with Garrison Keillor who is, of course, an immense star. He’s very tall and shows some wear and tear around the edges. He has tremendous intellect and he is sardonically funny. As you know he has the “Writer’s Almanac” every day and I love the show, it’s so interesting; a little bit of history, a little bit of poetry and he always provokes thought. Every once in a while he likes to push the envelope and if it involves something naughty it can present radio problems for us but so far we’re still breathing. You know those poets, always crossing boundaries.
On June 2nd, all of us in the WAMC family will commence our spring-summer fund drive. You have got to realize that you are just as big a part of this event as the WAMC staff is. The last fund drive was quite a miracle. In about four days, we (and I mean “we” as in all of us) raised a million dollars because we all understood that the way to make everything go faster was to feed the locked box before the fund drive. It turns out that the locked box is the best thing to happen since sliced bread. It’s there for just one reason – to hold money in reserve for the fund drive. Every penny that is in that box comes from people like you. Some give because they want to make the drive go faster. Some are truly worried about the physical and mental health of the staff as they approach yet another Herculean effort. Some just love the contest. They are fascinated by the effort of our community to make something happen that no one has ever done before.
The first hour of The Roundtable has proven to be a great success. Host Joe Donahue and I have received many compliments about the way in which the program is conducted. Listeners recognize the obvious love and respect that exists among the panelist and new heroes and heroines have emerged.
Everywhere I go, people are congratulating the radio station for, by far, the fastest million dollar fund drive in history. I always try to make the point that it is not the WAMC staff and board that deserve the kudos but all of you who made it happen. The amount of money that came in before the drive even started was astounding. A few weeks out we had about $300,000 in the magic locked (or lox or lock) box. We announced that number on the air and within days, we had $417,000 in the box. Every penny that came in before the drive that was marked for the box was accounted for and added to the total and used to shorten the drive.
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.
Here are my fearless predictions for the coming year at WAMC. Let’s remember the rules. Some of these predictions are based on things I do NOT want to see happen, so I predict them to put the whammy on them. Others I want to see happen so I predict them to make them happen. Then there are things I actually want to see happen. Any inspection of past events will show just how accurate I have been in that department. So here goes.