How public radio sucks you into their pledge drive


When Minnesota Public Radio starts their pledge drive, you can almost hear the statewide collective groan as we switch our radios to KDWB hump tunes or oldies. Because listening to those poor DJs beg for money is almost borderline pathetic. Yes, they rely on donations and they manage to trick enough people into paying up during pledge drives. But what about the poor souls that donate and still have to hear the weeklong pleas?

Slate has a pretty great collection of tactics used by public radio to convince you to pay up during pledge drives. We've heard many of these before, so apparently they must be working.

Our personal favorites: Flattering listeners by telling them only smart people listen to public radio, guilt tripping you into paying because that poor homeless man with the radio can't afford to, and making you believe you are part of a community as you sit alone in standstill traffic listening to voices coming out of your car stereo. Clever!

Just remember what you are paying for:

An excerpt:

7. You're not just helping us--you're helping your fellow listener

Public radio fundraisers are masters of the moment, able to turn any trend to their advantage, even a dire economic crisis. This year, it's impossible to ignore the frugal tenor of the times--so WNYC's Jad Abumrad made an explicit call for still-solvent listeners to contribute on behalf of their less fortunate brethren: "A lot of WNYC members and listeners have lost their jobs, lost their businesses. So, let me just sort of put a message out to the people who, you know [raps on table], have not lost their jobs, and to say, consider making an additional pledge, an extra $20, an extra $30 to help cover those people who right now are listening, relying on public radio, but they can't--they're not in a situation where they can make that pledge just now, and they'll get there next time."

Check out the full list here. The list also includes audio clip examples if you are curious.