Pledge Drive Programming

February 11th, 2008

Thirteen blogger: Neal Shapiro, President

Well, I asked for your feedback …

A few of you have asked about our pledge drives…both how and why we do them. The “why” is pretty simple and you probably know the answer: funding. Before I took this job, I thought much of the station’s revenue came from tax dollars. But the reality is that we get about ten percent of our budget from the federal government and we have to raise the rest from corporations, foundations, philanthropists…and yes, viewers like you.

That’s why we pledge, but it doesn’t mean we have to do pledge the same way all the time.

Thirteen has been one of public television’s innovators in finding new ways to do pledge. Since I got here, I’ve had lots of brainstorming meetings about it. I’d like to find more ways to take advantage of the fact that we’re located in New York City, to bring in interesting great guests and to make our breaks more informational and less intrusive.

Marc Chelmer, a viewer, suggests that we run classic PBS programming during pledge instead of the programs we currently offer. I talked to Hilary Vlachos who oversees pledge. She says she’s mindful of balancing our pledge schedule with core programs such as The Forsythe Saga, The Three Tenors and others, but it’s a real challenge because it’s so expensive to get the rights to rebroadcast many of our old favorites.

I’ve also heard from several viewers who love the music we play during pledge drives and this should be no surprise. There is a wide variety of opinions about which kinds of music they prefer. That’s another challenge for us.

Meanwhile, keep the comments coming!