Saturday, January 20, 2007

Give Us Money Or We'll Pledge

As I usually do on Saturday, I've been listening to KQED, being a devotee of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. In the break we got the local announcements, including the current round of warnings that the winter pledge drive is scheduled to begin next week. Last fall KQED did pretty well with a "pre-pledge" drive, which urged people to go online and pledge in advance, with the bait that if KQED got enough money up front, the pledge drive could be shortened or, at best, eliminated. They got 6 pledge days worth last fall; this time I think they're only 2 days to the good, so far.

What I realized today is that the wording of these announcements, all friendly and well-meaning as they are (and it's all voluntary of course), is like a shakedown. Give us money or we'll do something you won't like. As shakedowns go, a pledge drive is pretty innocent, and many people were going to donate anyhow; I'm just shaking my head at the way they're presenting it.

I'm also fascinated by the fact that they're only shaking down their Internet-enabled listeners (because, of course, the web site is there; the people who donate by mail already have; and the people who want to donate by phone need someone to answer the phone...).

But it's a good cause, and I'll even endorse it: readers in Northern California, please go to the KQED web site and donate now, so they'll shorten the pledge drive and I won't have to listen to so many pledge breaks!

Who, me? I donate during the fall pledge drive...

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