|Run For Your Life, It's the KCRW Pledge Drive
by Garrison Frost
Worse than tax season, dental appointments, major auto repairs, family arguments and strange insects in my bed, the KCRW pledge drive descends on my life twice a year and brings total destruction.
And I never see it coming. There must be warnings, but my mind apparently blocks them out. If I'm told about the drive coming up, I must go into complete denial.
That is, until I wake up one morning, walk out to my car and head off to work. Once I'm on the road, one of the first things I do is turn on my radio to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." But during this awful time I don't get "Morning Edition." Instead, I get the begging, whining and haranguing that is the pledge drive.
Now let me make something clear. I love KCRW. I love NPR's programming, I love "Morning Becomes Eclectic," I love Harry Shearer's "Le Show." I don't know what I would do without them.
Or actually, I do know what I would do without them because that is what I do during the pledge drive. Of course, during the pledge drive I am not only going without my favorite radio programming, but I am ceaselessly reminded that I am without it, mocked by the annoying drone of voices begging me for money.
"Pleeeease, we have only 10 minutes to raise an additional $3,000 to our match for this hour. I'd like to thank Arnold Shermer of Ontario for becoming an Angel this hour. He'd like to encourage all of his co-workers at Ace Plumbing to do their part as well. Remember, we're also offering the CD, the beautiful KCRW T-shirt and the trip to Venezuela ..."
After about 20 minutes of this, you get a tantalizing three minutes of news, and then this:
"Hi, this is KCRW station manager Ruth Seymour (light background music rises) and I'd like to bring you up to speed on why your contribution is so important ..."
The pledge drive is the ultimate guilt trip. If you don't give money, you're made to feel as if you are personally ripping the cultural soul from our society. I would guess I'm like most people, though. I have a number of stations on my radio, and I alight upon the one that is usually the most interesting. KCRW is usually that station. However, occasionally that station makes me feel like a shit.
While I have, on occasion, subscribed to KCRW during the pledge drive, the money didn't do what I wanted it to do. Somewhere in the minds of the people at KCRW, it has been decided to make the pledge drive incredibly annoying, so annoying that people will reach into their wallets to make it stop.
But it doesn't stop. You open you checkbook and send off your money and the pledge drive continues on and on and on.
Here's some advice to the radio station. If they want my money, devise a system whereupon as soon as I send my money the pledge drive ends for me, forever. There's no end to how much money I'll pay for that.
(Feb. 2, 2003)
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