Austin, TX-based public radio station KUT-FM reports that its semi-annual membership drive was a big success, with more than $900,000 pledged by 7,000 individuals and businesses. Yes, the organization says it did get a few calls complaining about NPR’s firing of Juan Williams – but only a few.
The membership drive, which began October 19th, was marked by a record number of online contributions. The overall drive was also a record for the 52-year-old station. Hundreds of listeners pledged online in the two weeks leading up to the drive in hopes of winning one of two Apple iPads being given away. The pre-drive promotion raised $120,000.
KUT says it depends on individuals and businesses for 86% of its annual operating budget. 100% of those contributions are used for direct programming and broadcasting expenses, such as maintaining a news bureau at the state capitol, reporting on Central Texas news and paying for programming such as “Morning Edition,” “Fresh Air,” “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” and “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Special KUT thank you gifts offered to donors this year included a limited edition KUT Live Volume 9 CD featuring live performances in KUT Studio 1A from artists including Corinne Bailey Rae, English Teeth, Nneka and Patty Griffin; and tickets to the November KUT Live concert featuring Carrie Rodriguez in the Austin City Limits studio. One unique and very Austin donor thank you gift was a handful of promotional posters for the Armadillo World Headquarters signed by artist Jim Franklin.
As with every KUT event, the station reports that volunteers and members of the community played a key role. Nearly 200 volunteers answered phones in the pledge room from 6:30 am to 11 pm, while 40 local restaurants donated food and beverages to sustain them.