WABE-FM’s considerable power to draw donors continued yet again in the just concluded spring fundraising period, with a record $1,348,391 in pledges from 14,542 donors.
The non-commercial station’s pledge numbers are up 3.8 percent from a year ago. The donor numbers are up slightly from a year ago when the station drew 14,331 donors.
“The biggest reaction from the staff is what an incredible group of listeners and supporters we have,” said John Weatherford, chief operating officer. “With long-term unemployment the way it is, to have this level of support is phenomenal.”
Individual giving now exceeds underwriting, he notes.
Although spring fundraising is usually lower than fall, that total is actually more than the station raised in the fall of 2011 ($1,324,098.90).
I also looked at Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s Form 990, which provides annual basic financial information to the federal government. It is not available on the WABE website so I went over to their office last month and received a copy.
The company, which includes both the TV station and the radio station, generated $12.54 million in income for the year ending June 30, 2011, while expenses were $11.835 million. The media operation employs 89 people.
The radio station expenses were $3,694,069 while the TV station expenses were $2,376,336.
Combined, program service expenses were $6.07 million, management and general expenses were $2.83 million and fundraising expenses were $2.94 million. Over the past few years, program and administrative expenses have edged up while fundraising expenses have fallen.
The operation has net assets of $8.65 million, which indicates a healthy balance sheet and is up from $7.76 million a year earlier. Over the past ten years, WABE has been steadily building its balance sheet without fail. Net assets in 2000 was $1.26 million.
The top paid staff are President and CEO Milton Clipper ($287,706), Weatherford ($216,389) and recently departed Chief Financial Officer Irene Wreen ($190,939).
Over the past five years, total revenues have been flat, ranging between $12,282,255 in FY 2009 to $12,964,399 for FY 2010.
Charity Navigator, which ranks various charities based on financial transparency and efficiency, gave Public Broadcasting Atlanta a rating of 49.07 out of 70, or two out of four stars, using the previous year’s Form 990. Over the past 10 years, that rating is actually on the high side.
So even though individual pledge numbers are significantly up since 2006, the station has used that to offset increased administrative and programming costs as well as a reduction in underwriting revenue in a slower economy. (Form 990 does not provide breakdowns of PBA’s sources of revenue.)
Here are the individual pledge totals from the past six years. Only twice has the station fallen short of its stated internal goals – spring 2007 and fall 2010. (The station no longer announces explicit goals on air, merely encouraging people to donate, no matter how small an amount.)
SOURCE: Public Broadcasting Atlanta, compiled by the AJC
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk