PBS looking for pledge-drive alternatives

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Public radio and television stations are known for two things: high-quality programming and pledge drives.

One provides listening and viewing options to commercial networks and a maze of cable channels.

The other makes many listeners and viewers turn off their radios or TV sets.

Pat Mitchell, president of PBS, is keenly aware of the pledge-drive syndrome. She would like to find a better way to raise funds locally for these public broadcast outlets.

Let's hear a cheer for Pat Mitchell.

Pledge drives are necessary to raise the money needed to keep public stations on the air. But even the most avid fans of public radio and TV flinch when another pledge drive takes to the air.

PBS is experimenting with two-minute pitches at the end of popular programming rather than full-blown drives involving volunteers and lengthy interruptions.

Let's hope Mitchell's experiments pay off. If they do, stations will get the money they received, and the public will avoid annoying and repetitious on-air begging.

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