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May 27, 2010

KEDM offers additional membership drive and "You are Public Radio" theme June 2-4

KEDM-90.3 FM is defying custom by shortening its summer membership on-air drive to just three days, down from the traditional eight.

The station, operated by the University of Louisiana at Monroe, relies on funding from listeners, local businesses, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to pay for approximately half of its annual operating expenses. The summer membership on-air drive will run from June 2-4.

The summer drive is actually an additional drive; KEDM normally takes to the airwaves for fundraising from listeners only in the spring and fall, according to KEDM Development Director Susan Allain. So far this year donations to the station haven't added up to what's necessary to maintain KEDM's present programming, or to reach the amount required to match the station's annual grant from CPB, said Allain.

"The theme for this extra membership drive is "You are Public Radio,'" she said. "We hope to raise $30,000 in three days. It will be a real challenge, but I believe the people in the community will pull together and make sure the station receives the funds necessary to pay for the quality programs people depend on the station to broadcast."

According to Allain and Program Director Jay Curtis, listeners can be fatigued by lengthy on-air membership drives, and several successful public radio stations have reduced the length of drives while seeing remarkable results, so KEDM is going to give it a try, too.

The station is counting on its listeners to step up.

"We're about $45,000 away from where we need to be by the end of this fiscal year, June 30," said ULM's Director of University Broadcasting Joel Willer. "If this year's donations don't reach that level, in coming years CPB will require KEDM to redirect money away from programming and toward increasing our local fundraising efforts."

If more local donations do not come KEDM's way, spending on programs like Performance Today, Fresh Air, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, and Marketplace will be reduced, he said.

Willer added, "We cannot expect that government support of the arts will grow. It's just not going to happen. In fact, CPB expects a minimum buy in from local listeners in order for KEDM to continue to receive federal funding."

Station managers believe KEDM's volunteer community advisory board, through donations from the local business community, can raise the remaining balance above the financial goal for the on-air drive.

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