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Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying (1984)

1984-12-26 Chippewa Herald Telegram.jpg

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CHIPPEWA FALLS—Before it was the United Way, it was the United Fund.

And before that, the Community Chest.

But whatever it was called, the annual fall campaign for funds was designed to replace the dozens of small, individualized money drives by putting them all in just one massive area-wide canvas for charity dollars.

And up to a point, the United Way does that—even though the original purpose of putting all the dollars in one basket and then doling them out to the proven "needy" has been diluted more than a little by competing campaigns conducted by organizers who think they can do better financially by "going it alone."

But this is another story and it does little except stress one inadequacy of those spin-off campaigns—the lack of reportage on the success or failure of a campaign.

Too many times the dollar drive is opened with a splurge of publicity and then followed only by an obscure announcement that has it has ended—with no breakdown of the money collected and distributed.

In the long run, this is bound to be discouraging to contributors who have put cash and pledges into a charitable pot, only to have the amount of the collection and its ultimate distribution buried at best and never announced at worst.

ONE THOSE DOLLAR drives operating outside the United Way in this area is the annual (semi-annual, or whatever) campaign conducted by what is commonly known as Public Broadcasting System (PBS) or the Wisconsin Educational Television Network.

Say what you will about the PBS huckstering, but it is not easily forgotten.

These people called upon to desert whatever duties they have with the noncommercial PBS "to spend and evening with us in our living rooms" raising money can probably best be described as "sincere." Listening to their lengthy appeals for-the dollars can make a viewer long for the 15 or 30-second "spot" on the commerical networks. They go on and on, in a mind-numbing monotony, with everyone from the Regional Representative Jim Kissinger (Channel 28, Menomonie and Channel 31, La Crosse) right on down or up to the studio-sweepers, begging for the bucks.

Ordinarily a commercial spot is seemingly formatted to allow a quick trip to the refrigerator for a beer or a biscuit, but the PBS affiliate appeals will allow not only the building of a rather large sandwich but also an extended visit to the bathroom where at least one chapter of "War and Peace" can be absorbed without missing a word of whichever show is being interrupted.

BUT GETTING BACK to where this dissertation began, the subject of the non-reporting of the results of some money campaigns, the Wisconsin ETV people do the job right.

Shortly after the last appeal cluttered up the air, Carolyn Hickman of the Wisconsin ETV submitted this report:

"The Wisconsin ETV Network," she writes, "completed its on-air pledge drive, "Home For The Holidays," bringing in a total of 1747 pledges for $91,200 during the period December 1-December 10."

"Success of the pledge drive," she claims, "was spurred by two challenge grants from Kimberly-Clark Corporationn, Neenah, for $6,600 and one grant from the Wausau Insurance Companies for 91,090. The grants brought the total for the drive to $98,800."

HICKMAN CLAIMS that it was these challenge grants that stimulated pledging throughout the drive; and this could be true since the PBS beggers did not produce a great deluge of dollars when the totals were figured. In fact, a good plumber working on a holiday weekend could probably make more money (figuring his overtime) than any single one of the long-winded pleaders during the period.

$98,800 does not, after all, make much of a dent in the prduction costs of a TV show.

But Hickman, clamping down on the bullet, gamely reports that the "biggest single break occurred during 'Glenn Miller: A Moonlight Serenade,' when 46 people called in to pledge $2,880." "This," she says, "occured the night of the Wausau Insurance Companiess' challenge grant."

The biggest single night was Sunday, December 9, which featured Nature, Masterpiece Theatre and Pavarotti in Concert. "Encouraged by the challenge grant from the Kimberly-Clark Corporation," Hickman says, "a total of 187 people pledged $10,230 that night."

The way I understand "challenge grants," the grantors will put the guaranteed money into the pot if the grantees match it.

HICKMAN ALSO uses the report on the drive to toot the PBS horn, bugling, "The phenomenal popularity of the Dr. Who programs (science fiction) continues. "Fans responded to the Dr. Who programs (which included an eight-hour Saturday night marathon) by pledging a total of 619,700 during the pledge drive," she boasts.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Meier, Holly (1984-12-26). Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying. Chippewa Herald-Telegram p. sec. A, p. 3.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Meier, Holly. "Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying." Chippewa Herald-Telegram [add city] 1984-12-26, sec. A, p. 3. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Meier, Holly. "Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying." Chippewa Herald-Telegram, edition, sec., 1984-12-26
  • Turabian: Meier, Holly. "Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying." Chippewa Herald-Telegram, 1984-12-26, section, sec. A, p. 3 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Say_what_you_will_about_PBS_fund_huckstering,_but_report_on_recent_dollar_drive_is_worth_copying | work=Chippewa Herald-Telegram | pages=sec. A, p. 3 | date=1984-12-26 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 March 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Say what you will about PBS fund huckstering, but report on recent dollar drive is worth copying | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Say_what_you_will_about_PBS_fund_huckstering,_but_report_on_recent_dollar_drive_is_worth_copying | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 March 2019}}</ref>