Fair-Weather Friends?

Jim Radio sent along a letter he got from a group (co-managed by American Public Media) organizing resistance to the expected Republican offensive against funding for public media. It reads, in part:

The 112th Congress is being sworn in this week and could take action against funding for public broadcasting at any time. We need you to act now to build the 170 Million Americans advocates network to defend this critical source of support for your organization.

170 Million Americans is a local effort with local promotion, local action and local audiences engaging in an independent but coordinated fashion. Who needs to ultimately be behind this effort? Your station.

So far, more than 12,500 individuals have signed up at 170MillionAmericans.org or on our Facebook page. This is a good start, but only 5% of our goal of 250,000 advocates.

The success of this campaign is directly tied to the investment that stations make in it. We need you to direct as many of your viewers and listeners to 170MillionAmericans.org in order to create the grassroots network that we will need to ensure the future of public media.

Although we’re longtime supporters of public radio, we do find it interesting how the grassroots is so important now. It has been of secondary importance when it comes to funding HD channels nobody listens to or slashing local talent or modeling playlists according to the god Arbitron and what is hopping on Clear Channel or in paying top dollar for the “best and brightest” in public radio.

If you follow the links to their website you’ll find some pertinent information — particularly considering that “everybody” says federal funding is just a drop in the bucket:

Federal funding is the “lifeblood” of public broadcasting, providing critical seed money and basic operating support to local stations, which then leverage each $1 of federal funding to raise over $6 from local sources — a tremendous return on the taxpayer investment. Federal funding provides the margin of revenue needed by local stations to produce quality local programs and to make a market for national producers.

Federal funding provides essential support for public broadcasting’s mission to ensure universal access to high-quality non-commercial programming that educates, informs, enlightens, and enriches the public, with a particular focus on the needs of underserved audiences, including children and minorities [emphasis added].


You can get all manner of widgets and web tiles and banners at the website:

Then, of course, there’s the call to action:

Hit the airwaves: You can encourage your audiences to visit 170MillionAmericans.org without it being considered lobbying. Please start running a promotion on your airwaves starting this week. More information about on-air promotions is available by clicking here <https://sites.google.com/site/170millionamericansstations/departments/department-a&gt; [where you’ll find scripts to read over the air]. You can also see sample web promotions by clicking here <https://sites.google.com/site/170millionamericansstations/departments/department-b&gt;.

Reach out by email: Send a note to your members, donors and other stakeholders. Sample messages are available here <https://sites.google.com/site/170millionamericansstations/template-member-and-board-communication&gt;

Get a celebrity involved: Find a regional or national celebrity who is willing to tweet about the campaign, encourage their friends to join on Facebook or record a testimonial to put on your station or share nationally. One tweet could add thousands of advocates to the campaign.

Send a local press release: Sample media releases are available here <https://sites.google.com/site/170millionamericansstations/media-information&gt;

Get creative: You know how to best reach the people who care about your service. Get creative about your outreach and let us know <mailto:ideas@170millionamericans.org>  what is working.

Report back.


One Response

  1. […] on the website overflowed with plaints from the disenfranchised “underserved“: Moving on doesn’t always mean improvement, but the truth here is that the future of […]

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