Thursday, April 26, 2007

WJIB - the Little Station that DID!

WJIB is a unique little AM station in Boston. Despite a tiny power (250w day / 5w night) and no staff besides owner/operator Bob Bittner, they found an underserved audience and served it well with its "beautiful music" format. The proof is in the pudding - after just six weeks of limited fundraising announcements, WJIB raised $88000 it needs to cover music licensing fees related to WJIB's recent (and dramatic) jump in the Arbitron ratings.

There's a lesson here, one I fear too many are "brushing off": WJIB did not run an effective fundraiser, WJIB runs an effective station...and that's why it both had the listeners and raised the funds.

I don't mean that first part as a slight, more just to draw attention to how limited it was compared to, say, fundraiser powerhouse WBUR. Unlike WBUR...WJIB's fundraiser had nobody manning the phones. Credit cards were NOT accepted, and online donations were non-existent...donations were entirely in the form of checks & money orders mailed to the station. There weren't any of the dreaded "pitching sessions" either...instead, Bob recorded a series of announcements, each a few minutes in length (MP3), that explained what the fundraiser was for and how to donate. Rinse, lather, repeat for six weeks and viola! The cash was raised.

At many fundraisers, I get the distinct sense that the station could stop fundraising entirely, and instead just call up the same donors who gave the last time; they'd still raise about 90% of the goal. That means that you don't have your listeners convinced your station has value...you just have a core group that will support the idea of your station no matter what your programming is. And that, in turn, means you're not serving your audience as well as you could be.

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Sven said...

Good Job! :)