Tuesday, March 2, 2010


March 4, 2010

That's NPR News at the top of the hour. Good morning, I'm Paige Turner, and as you've all feared, this is Pledge Week at KHBX, Public Radio 830. We're taking a break from Morning Edition to ask for your support. For the life of me, I don't understand why this works, but it does. They must have done studies. If I were you, I'd punch that preset on your radio and jive to the oldies till we're done with this stuff. That's what normal people do, but I am not you.
Are you still there? See, you Public Radio listeners really are different. You like us because you like our long, in-depth stories, and so I guess you must also like our long, shallow, repetitive, uncreative fund-raisers. It's counter-intuitive! Wouldn't you be more likely to make a pledge if these drives were entertaining? I don't know, maybe it's hypnosis: We put you into a trance with our monotonous drone and plant the urge to pledge into your subconscious. Yes, that could be it: You are now completely relaxed. When I clear my throat, you will become fully awake. Ahem! Now you will pick up the phone and dial 1-800-555- 1212, or log on to www.KHBX.org. This will only take a couple minutes, and afterwards you will experience a profound sense of well-being.
If that didn't work, consider this: We're commercial-free! — well, sort of. Unlike the all-news-all-the-time stations with their two two-minute stories followed by a minute of annoying commercials 24/7, all we have every hour all year long are a few minutes of modest little announcements from our corporate sponsors. They're delivered so soberly by our staff that they hardly qualify as commercials, don't you think?
Yes, I know Pledge Weeks are different; I admit they're like one giant commercial. But the genius here is that it's concentrated — all-commercial-all-the time, but for just three weeks a year. How cool is that? What if the all-news stations did it our way? What if our cousin PBS did it our way? They're the epitome of cleverness. They lure you in with spectacular specials and then, just when you're hooked on that Peter, Paul and Mary retrospective, they hit you with The Pitch for ten minutes at a time. That's not us. We don't lure, we don't even surprise. We do full disclosure weeks in advance, sort of like the military at Marja giving the Taliban plenty of notice to get out of town.
I digress. If you've already made your pledge, thank you, and I give you permission to change stations. For the rest of you, I really do hate to have your serene morning commute upset by this harangue, but think of it this way: It's sort of like what your mom did to you as a kid, you know? — "I hope you appreciate all I'm doing for you, and you better be grateful to me." This is listener-supported radio, and that means you! If you tune in every day — think about it, how many of you tune in every day? — and believe Fresh Air and Speaking of Faith are your God- given right, then shame on you. Shouldn't you render to us a fraction of what we render to you? Speaking of faith, doesn't your rabbi or pastor or imam tell you that every week or so?
If you're sufficiently guilt-ridden by now, salve your soul by picking up that cell phone on the passenger seat, checking the mirrors carefully, of course — we of all people don't want to get you in trouble — and call 1-800-555-1212 or iPhone an e-pledge to www.KHBX.org. If you're distracted and fatally plow into the car ahead, our station-manager Beatrice will lead you to the ring of KHBX supporters in the Paradiso. No kidding. We've set it up.
That's 1-800-555-1212 or KHBX.org. Oh, but wait, wait, don't tell me! Is there something positive here? Yes! We're not all about guilt. For a pledge of just $60 you will receive a sturdy, eco-friendly KHBX tote-bag to add to that vast collection in your closet. Sixty dollars! Why, that's just five dollars a month! That's crazily cheap when you think about it. What do you pay for your cable and phone? I'm back to guilt, but it's the truth! Call 1-800-555-1212.
And wow! Here's another great way you can pledge: Become a Sustaining Member! All you do is tell us to bill your credit card for a small amount every month for as long as you live or until you declare bankruptcy. Set it and forget it! What could be easier?
There. That's over for another 15 minutes. For most of the year, I'm a responsible news anchor. For three weeks, I'm a shameless huckster. I hate this, but what can I do? Help me redeem my self-esteem! Call 1-800-555-1212.
We now go back to Morning Edition, but first:
"KHBX is sponsored by ...."

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