Thursday, September 6, 2012

Membership Drive Timing & The DNC

Some listeners have contacted us today with concerns about the timing of our mini-membership drive. Their main concern is that we may be pre-empting news and updates coming out of the Democratic National Convention in favor of on-air fundraising.

These are good questions and we are happy to address them:
  • The Democratic National Convention had no bearing on the timing of this short membership drive.
  • Although we did pre-empt one convention story this morning, in general, we are not "covering up" convention coverage with fundraising messaging during this drive.
  • In addition to coverage during Morning Edition and All Things Considered, we’re airing an uninterrupted hour of On Point at 10 a.m., which is airing live from the DNC, and of course stories throughout the day on the BBC NewsHour, Here And Now, and other programs.
  • Tonight (Thursday) beginning at 8 p.m., you'll hear live coverage of the DNC without interruption, including President Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for President.
  • As a statewide organization dedicated to public service, VPR is deeply rooted in the communities we serve. Over the last several years, we’ve been taking our mission a step further by bringing listeners together during membership drives to support organizations that help improve the quality of life in Vermont - while raising the money to support the programming you count on, including election coverage.
  • While there’s not necessarily an ideal time for a membership drive, we determined that early September was an appropriate time to hold a short membership drive to help Hunger Free Vermont because it is Hunger Action Month. With 90,000 food insecure people living in Vermont, it's an issue to which we wanted to call attention and give listeners the opportunity to something to help.
  • The drive will end this Saturday at noon.
Despite these facts and assurances, we recognize that listeners may perceive the drive as interrupting convention coverage. Keeping our listeners' trust is of utmost importance to us, and we don’t discount the impact of those perceptions.

As a result, on Friday during Morning Edition we will not air long pledge drive breaks. Instead, on VPR you will hear Mitch Wertlieb reminding listeners about our special mini-drive, but the focus of the morning will be bringing you the latest news from the convention floor, the President’s address, and recap of the week’s events in Charlotte in addition to our regular newscasts.

After Morning Edition, we plan on resuming our appeals for support, not only for VPR but for our partner, Hunger Free Vermont. We know that membership drives are not a listener favorite, however, they are the most effective tool we have to ensure that VPR remains financially on track and able to bring you the quality of programming that you have come to expect and rely upon.

Thanks again for listening, and as always, thanks for your feedback. We value all of the ways that you support VPR, whether it’s through your financial support, volunteer time, and you’re your feedback!


Brendan Kinney
Vice President of Development & Marketing

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