Jewish World Review Oct. 23, 2002 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Barry Lank

Barry Lank
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Consumer Reports

OK, at least JWR's fundraising attempts aren't THIS pathetic! | "Welcome back to our fall pledge drive here at WAAB public radio. We've been in this studio for three days straight trying to raise money from listeners, and we ... are ... so ... psyched!"

"That's right. We ran out of food 18 hours ago and started eating the insulation in the sound booth. The building smells like there's a gas leak. And my appendectomy scar has opened up again."

"But we just took a break and played nine seconds from a Sarah McLachlan CD for you. Now we're back, we're refreshed and we're ready to work. Candace, what's our fund-raising goal for this hour?"

"We have to pledge 32,000 new members in the next 14 minutes."

"That's so awesome! It's our most unrealistic goal yet!"

"And to achieve it, we'll need to get phone calls every single minute from an average of 2,285.714285714285 ... well, it works out to 2,285 and five-sevenths of a dedicated listener each minute, or 38 and two-twenty-firsts of a listener a second!"

"I think I heard a phone ring! We're on our way!"

"That's from the office next door. The sound is getting in because we ate all the insulation. No, we haven't gotten any calls at all in the last seven seconds, so we're already 266 and two-thirds of a listener behind. That's why we're offering premium gifts for pledges at various levels, to encourage people to phone in."

"Why not? For a donation of $15, you get a cassette tape featuring three days worth of my phone messages. For $50, you get some shoes that Candace doesn't wear anymore. For $100, one of our interns moves in with you for awhile until he can get his head together. And for $200, this station is giving away tickets to the Philadelphia Orchestra's extremely dynamic version of Antonio Vivaldi's `Four Seasons.'"

"What makes it so dynamic?"

"They plan to slap a guy around during the fourth movement."

"That's swell. But remember, making a pledge isn't just about receiving a gift. Ask yourself what this radio station means to you."

"Probably a lot, now that your wife left you."

"Did you ever ask yourself why she left?"

"Who knows? Why not call in with a pledge?"

"I just got word that we've received a challenge pledge from Uri Dokwad of Delran, N.J."

"Uri says he'll match every pledge made in the next four minutes, dollar for dollar, up to $100."

"What's the point? Why don't these people just give us $100 straight out, instead of torturing us like this?"

"They don't think we take to it! They think we're weak!"

"They don't realize how passionate our listeners really are. Just a few minutes ago, a listener in Burlington City phoned in to say, `WAAB is my best friend.'"

"How pathetic. I mean, how sweet."

"Our listeners would do anything for us, and we would do anything for them. Because you are our listeners, and ... and ... and we love you."

"There. It's finally out. We love you. We've never felt this way before about any other abstract demographic that we don't see or talk to or know at all except through spreadsheets."

"God, it feels so incredible to finally say it."

"But why won't you look at us, when we're opening our heart to you like this? Is there someone else? Some other radio station you haven't told us about?"

"Who else would play your favorite music the way we do and rub your feet when you get tired and tell you ... tell you that everything ... that everything is going to be OK...."

"Oh Candace, don't cry. Now you're making me cry...."

"Darn it, I swore I wouldn't get like this again. Every pledge drive, I think about our listeners and I get all weepy."

"It's OK, sweetie. Look, look, I'm going to pledge a $50 membership just to you."

"Oh Cecilia. I pledge a $50 membership to you, too."

"Oh Candace!"

"Oh Cecilia!"


JWR contributor Barry Lank is an editorial writer and humor columnist based at the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2002, Barry Lank