by Helen Harrell
If you haven’t been involved with a WFHB fund drive you just don’t know what you are missing! Not good at asking folks for money? You aren’t alone in that area but once you become involved in the activities at the station during a fund drive your enthusiasm will pique and it will become easier to ask listeners and supporters for financial contributions to keep the greatest community station ever…certainly in Southern Indiana and beyond (because don’t forget we live stream on line and podcast too) on air…….up and running.
Many regular listeners and probably those infrequent listeners as well simply don’t understand how community radio works and that the democratic principle of a strictly volunteer run organization means that everyone must contribute to keep the lights on, the music flowing, the news reporting and the equipment from self-destructing! Those of us who have been involved for many years actually look forward to fund drive time when energy is high, excitement is in the air and so many volunteers gather in the studio to pass their enthusiasm on to the broader listener community. What could be better than gathering around the microphone with others who share your passion about WFHB and talking with folks about how great it is to have non commercialized news and public affairs reporting and music shows not bought and paid for by the mega-music industry?
In place of corporate control and/or sponsorship programming is determined by the very listeners who are asked to donate a few bucks each year to help keep it all going. The very fact that WFHB is volunteer driven is significant in that the station offers low barrier journalism. What does that mean you ask? It refers to the fact that WFHB offers a voice for any and all who want to participate and welcomes all opinions, attitudes and beliefs (we do anticipate that folks will be polite regardless of views). And unlike corporate media your $$$ contributions go directly to station expenses and not into financing some CEO’s 3rd vacation home. The dollars from fund drives make up over a third of WFHB’s annual budget and are imperative for daily operation of the station. Paid staff is small and consists of dedicated individuals who work very hard for their rather small wages, and the station is essentially run by its more than 200 volunteers who receive no financial recompense but receive great satisfaction in knowing they are contributing to the greater good – an amazing community station that focuses on public interest, issues, entertainment and events – all at the community level but relevant to the world.
WFHB holds the distinction of being the first (since 1993) volunteer-powered and listener supported community radio station and its focus is on providing an open community forum for the discussion and exchange of issues and ideas to celebrate local cultural diversity. It has been my pleasure to volunteer on air, serve on the Board of Directors as well as on several committees and financially contribute to WFHB for well over a decade. I also find it to be great fun to share my enthusiasm for the station during fund drive and tell others what a special opportunity it is to have a station like WFHB in the local community and surrounding areas. Bloomington IN is better for having an independent, democratically run station and we ask for your financial help in ensuring that we can continue to bringing you the best from Btown!!