Congratulations to our colleagues at Montana Public Radio, who raised a record $591,000 during their spring fundraising drive – which ended Sunday with the ever-popular, ever-rambunctious “Pet Wars.” (My church always donates money in honor of our mostly legendary “church mouse.”)
Here’s the good news, as provided by Montana Public Radio and the University of Montana:
Riding the wave of pledges for cats, dogs, horses, sheep and other pets (including one sourdough starter) in the “Pet Wars” finale April 17, Montana Public Radio raised a record $591,000 during its spring on-air fund drive, exceeding the goal of $550,000.
“We know that there is a lot of support for our service, but the week exceeded all our expectations in a big way,” said Linda Talbott, MTPR development director. “We are very thankful, very humbled and very tired.”
Supporters made more than 5,700 pledges during the week, which featured on-air celebrations for every thousand dollars raised and unique thank-you gifts offered by listeners and businesses. The “premiums” included chocolate cakes, tofu pies and live goats.
“The program hosts got a big boost from the listener feedback that comes with all those pledges,” said program director Michael Marsolek, praising the on-air staff for keeping the message positive and upbeat. “We tried to keep the week listenable, conversational and fun. Listeners seemed to love it.”
The spring fund drive represents about 50 percent of the total amount the station must raise from listeners and business underwriters in the coming year. Station manager William Marcus says the pledges are a vote of confidence that is especially appreciated during a time when federal funding for public broadcasting is in doubt.
“People notice when you have such an outpouring of love and support for a community service like MTPR,” Marcus said. “We are proud to be the local source for NPR programming, and proud of the many local news and music programs that we produce, too.”
MTPR is a public service of The University of Montana and broadcasts from studios in Missoula and through transmitters in Missoula, Kalispell, Helena, Butte, Hamilton and Great Falls.