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WABE-FM has another record-breaking campaign drive with nearly $1.5 million in pledges

wabe logoFor the fourth consecutive fund drive, 90.1/WABE-FM broke a listener campaign pledge drive record, pulling in nearly $1,5 million over two weeks ending Oct. 26.

The preliminary total – $1,487,565 – was up 12.3 percent from the fall 2011 campaign and 41 percent over five years.

The non-commercial NPR affiliate also drew a record 15,468 individual donors, about 900 more than during the spring drive.

John Weatherford, chief operating officer, said recent comments by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney about eliminating federal support of stations like his may have fueled more donors.

He also said the station changed the messaging to say that if someone doesn’t want a “premium” gift like a tote bag, they don’t have to take it. As a result, the percentage of people taking gifts dropped from 30 percent to a preliminary estimate of just 17 percent. Obviously, if the station doesn’t have to send out a gift, it can save money.

All pledge money, he said, go directly into programming costs.

Individual donations now exceed corporate and non-profit underwriting, which is down between 4 to 10 percent month over month this year compared to 2011. Weatherford said many non-profit groups who normally support WABE have cut back more than expected.

With human resource and programming expenses going up, he said FY 2013, which ends June 30, 2012, has been the most challenging the station has had in years. But WABE has avoided layoffs and in fact, plans to add two more news people on its staff, expanding from 9 to 11 in that department.

To note, the pledge numbers are not exactly what the actual dollars will be though it’s usually pretty close. While nearly 94 percent of pledged via credit card, a small percentage used a “bill me later’ feature, which means they may not necessarily come through with the pledges.

Charity Navigator ranks WABE-FM two stars out of four based on its data from Form 990, a financial disclosure form required by the federal government.  The site has given WABE a two-star rating for five consecutive years.

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13 comments Add your comment

sana

October 30th, 2012
2:18 pm

FM Fats

October 30th, 2012
2:46 pm

Is any of this money going to WPBA as well? And how much of a pledge would it take to get the “Click and Clack” reruns off the air now that those two cackling clowns have retired?

The Real Fan

October 30th, 2012
3:13 pm

The above comments say a lot about Atlanta.

FM Fats

October 30th, 2012
3:59 pm

Yeah? Like what? I have been contributing to WABE for 20 years. I think it gives me the right to question the programming and to question whether some of the money I have contributed has gone to the television station as well.

chili

October 30th, 2012
4:05 pm

We’ll fatty check out their websites, it’s available information any 20 year donor would know. No reason to be a fatty about it.

joe

October 30th, 2012
4:07 pm

So we should deduct $1.5 million from federal funding…we need to cut, cut again, then cut some more in order to get control of our national debt. How about 20% across the board and eliminate some do-nothing departments for starters.

FM Fats

October 30th, 2012
5:02 pm

Chili, WABE does not make IRS Form 990 information available on its website according to Charity Navigator. Mr. Ho has reported here in the past that the 990 does not break down the income by radio and television outlets.

HeBeGeeBe

October 31st, 2012
3:54 pm

To “Joe” talking about cutting funding: You are either off topic or completely ignorant. WABE doesn’t get anywhere near 1.5 M from federal funding. Perhaps you should go rant elsewhere.

All I'm Saying Is....

October 31st, 2012
4:09 pm

Don’t hire two more people. Use the money to create an endowment.

Nick Wright

October 31st, 2012
11:01 pm

FMF, the short answer is Definitely.

“At most public broadcasting operations, the popular radio stations attract more loyal contributors than does television. When the two facilities are combined, as with the Atlanta school stations, the radio station’s contributors prop up TV operations. AETC board member Kevin Ross remarked at the May meeting of the panel: “[T]he financial strength of the enterprise AETC manages … is WABE.” ”

Source:
http://clatl.com/atlanta/bach-off-you-npr-scum/Content?oid=1244542

Sagebasics

November 1st, 2012
2:01 pm

Rodney. How much annually does WABE and WPBA receive in federal funding? It sounds like the pledge drives are successful, the stations operate primarily with non-commercial grants and Atlanta Public School tax dollars. The two stations could, and should, forego all federal funding.

Rodney Ho

November 1st, 2012
2:20 pm

@Sagebasics. I forgot to include that. It’s 11% of the budget from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the non-profit that disseminates federal funds to stations like WABE-FM. In other words, WABE would survive without the federal funding though many smaller stations in smaller towns and municipalities would suffer more.

Sagebasics

November 1st, 2012
4:20 pm

Rodney. I appreciate the additional information.