Station manager Ben Michael alerted me to WESU’s spring fund drive (you can give here) with the following announcement:
Just 10 years ago WESU was in disrepair. The institutional memory was shot and the studios, music libraries, and business records were in shambles. The station’s license was nearly lost. Fortunately a dedicated group of student and community volunteers worked hard with the Wesleyan University administration to develop a plan to get the station back on its feet.
Currently, WESU operates 24 hrs per day, seven days per week, and is supported by a volunteer staff of over 150 student and community volunteers, two part-time paid staffers, and one full-time general manager. WESU is supported by a partnership between Wesleyan University and listeners, organizations, and businesses throughout the Connecticut River Valley. As evidence of WESU’s transformation over the last decade, for the first time, WESU was crowned “The Best College Radio Station” in the 2013 Hartford Advocate’s Annual Readers’ Poll!
WESU receives no federal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or any other grant or foundation sources. WESU depends on listener support to cover roughly one third of its lean $120,000 annual budget. When other public radio stations around the country, including right here in Connecticut, have budgets so huge they can afford to pay their general managers more than twice WESU’s entire annual budget, WESU continues to grow and develop as a community service. With public affairs programming from NPR, Pacifica, local and independent sources in addition to a plethora of free-form music and community programming, WESU offers more perspectives than any other radio station in the region.
In addition to bringing listeners hard-to-access news, music, public affairs, art, and perspectives from across the world, WESU enables our local communities to inform, share, organize, educate, celebrate life, and connect with the world around them. Thanks to the growth in internet broadcasting, WESU now also serves thousands of listeners from around the globe each month. WESU has come a long way since a young student named Arch Doty built that first one-watt radio station in his Wesleyan University Clark Hall dorm room back in 1939.
As an innovative listener-supported community radio station, WESU is constantly exploring new ground. This spring, WESU is taking another risk by exploring a kinder, gentler approach to fundraising in an effort to avoid disrupting the airwaves with another traditional on-air public radio pledge drive. You can help prevent an over-the-top pledge drive from taking over the WESU airwaves by donating online at www.wesufm.org or by sending a check to WESU Radio, 45 Broad St, 2nd fl, Middletown, CT 06457 . WESU is also asking supporters to help spread the word throughout their communities and social networks that reaching new donors is critical to sustaining WESU. Past donors will be receiving letters of appeal in the mail as well.
Community support during this drive specifically supports locally produced free-form radio created by student and community volunteers. WESU offers a truly unique mix of public affairs and cultural programming that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. With your support, WESU can further distinguish itself from the radio pack and avoid resorting to interrupting regular programming in order to continue doing what it does best!