Friday, February 16, 2007

Talking Back to the NPR Pledge Drive

My morning routine includes listening to National Public Radio from the time I wake up to when I leave for work. This week my local station has been having the dreaded pledge drive, so I've spent most of those woozy morning hours having an imaginary conversation with the announcers as they plead for donations. Perhaps many other personal finance geeks find themselves having the same response:

WNYC: Your pledge of $75 a year works out to only about 21 cents a day. Isn't all our great programming worth 21 cents a day to you? I mean, come on, it's only 21 cents a day, I lose that much walking down the hallway...
Madame X: I've had days where I picked up 21 cents on the street and was really happy about it... where is this hallway?
WNYC: Think about it, your $100 donation would mean so much to us, and you probably spend that much on coffee...
MX: Yeah, that Latte Factor (TM) will kill ya...
WNYC: And to thank you for your generous gift of $50 and up, we'll send you a fantastic tote bag...
MX: What do I need another tote bag for? Even if I did need one, I could get it for way less than $50!
WNYC: ...or you can choose as your gift a subscription to the New Yorker magazine...
MX: I already subscribe to the New Yorker.
WNYC: ...or you can get a one-year renewal if you already subscribe...
MX: So you want me to voluntarily pay way more than my renewal would normally cost?
WNYC: Think of all the hours of listening pleasure you get out of WNYC-- All Things Considered, This American Life, Studio 360, Car Talk, and of course our in-depth news coverage...
MX: I do love the programs. But radio is free, and you want me to pay for it-- doesn't that kind of make me... a SUCKER?
WNYC: Right now we're having a two-for-one matching donation, courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. J.P. Moneybucks...
MX: Well why aren't they just giving you all that money if they're so loaded? Why are they holding it hostage waiting for peons like me?
WNYC: Public radio gets less and less funding from the government. We count on you to make sure we can survive. And remember, even a gift of $50 a year-- that's less than 14 cents a day-- makes a big difference to us.
MX: Yeah, it better! That 14 cents a day, with interest compounded monthly, will be over $5,000 by the time I retire...
WNYC: And if you call right now, we'll enter you in a drawing to get an iPhone before they're available to the public...
MX: hmmm...
WNYC: [music, guitar chords---"if you leave me--" girls screaming -- "I'll go crazy..."] For $75, you can also choose this wonderful CD, the legendary "Live at the Apollo," by James Brown...
MX: Why have I never replaced that old cassette tape? 21 cents a day... You know, I always have meant to donate to NPR... and it is tax deductible...


5 comments:

3 Things About Money said...

NPR is one of the greatest things about radio...good for you for donating. It is number one on my list of donations when I get my miniscule refund check. My talk back to the pledgedrive is a little more, um, salty, than yours, but everytime I end up in the same place, loving public radio.

mapgirl said...

I love NPR and the local affilate in DC, but I tend to listen to CD's during pledgeweek. I can't stand the pleading chatter. I try to make a donation when it fits into my budget though. It really is some of the best money I've ever spent. I'm sad that one of the other local affilates changed their format, but that means my favorite station has picked up some shows I've always liked or changed their format so I can listen to shows they used to air in the middle of the night. (Yay Fresh Air!)

Anonymous said...

I think the pledge drive is fascinating - the way the announcers can talk for so long about the same thing and still make it sound completely sincere, varied, and natural. They are geniuses. And yes, they are definitely making me feel guilty enough to donate.

Anonymous said...

Although I like this blog, today's entry --and the tongue in cheek(I hope) haggling about donating what, $50 or $100--left me scratching my head and hoping that there's more to life than just saving up for retirement.

mOOm said...

I find the whole pledge drive phenomenon a bizarre American thing.... I just switch to commercial radio (which I listen to a lot anyway) during those weeks... without the pledge drive I might listen to commercial radio less the rest of the time. That's how I discovered some of the programs I now like to listen to.