|"Here & Now" host Robin Young|
busking in Harvard Square T Stop
But it ALSO means that when public radio decides to poke fun at itself, it can work really, really well.
Case in point: today a buddy of mine at WBUR posted this hilarious fundraising video to Youtube:
A WBUR Film - A Cautionary Tale.
In it, WBUR GM Charles Kravetz finds the numbers aren't adding up, so he dispatches Bob Oakes, David Boeri, Robin Young and Meghna Chakrabarti...all are well-known reporters or hosts...out to the streets to scrounge up some cash. Oakes takes a "will report news for change" on the sidewalk approach, Chakrabarti runs the WBUR parking lot, Boeri sells some "quality merchandise" out of his coat, and poor Robin Young busks guitar...intentionally badly...in the middle of the Harvard Square subway stop (one of the busiest in the system). And some random listener recognized her, came over with a grin, and said "Robin, don't quit your day job," while dropping a dollar in the guitar case. Ouch.
The whole thing is sheer genius! It highlights some of their strongest local talent (well, Robin's national but she's certainly well-known locally, too) and does so in a way that takes well-known voices and makes them more accessible as people. All while poking fun at the system in a way that both makes you laugh and makes you feel just a little sorry for them.
Even if nobody actually donates directly because of this video. I feel pretty confident that this video is part of an overall amalgamation of reasons while someone...probably a lot of someones...will end up donating.
If your station hasn't done a video like this...why not? You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain.