Pledging Support

Regular WBEZ listeners know that the station is nearly finished with its spring pledge drive. Regular programming is disrupted by employees who offer countless reasons for donating to the station.

Those who have regular donations are offered a “pledge-free stream” with a link to “NPR programming instead of WBEZ’s live on-air fundraising segments.” That allows these listeners to avoid that mind-numbing patter about who has and hasn’t given and why more should give.

This stream is certainly better than enduring those financial appeals. At least breaks between segments replace inane chatter with musical varieties.

The problem is that this stream also omits all local news, which might seem understandable.

Local hosts and others after all are otherwise encouraging those four of every five listeners who reportedly don’t donate to reconsider their decisions. The effect however is that reliable donors must choose between a more generic “pledge-free” experience or the pledge-filled one with local news.

The station, which is aware of this situation, seems relatively unconcerned about those who regularly donate in part for reliable local news. As a result, I play both streams, and tune into the one without musical interludes and fundraising segments and with local news, which I’ve discovered requires much more effort.

Starting tomorrow, the station and I will return to our regularly scheduled routines, and to the valuable local, national, and global news that WBEZ provides the Chicago region. And I will remember once again why I donate regularly to this vital resource.



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