Pledge Drive quick thought
By Chris Van Hof ~ Posted Tue, 02/10/2009 - 1:55pm
By the time our current Membership Campaign is over, I will have worked for three and a half pledge drives at WXXI. Every time we finish a pledge drive, I find myself thinking the same thought: doing this should be mandatory for any college student trying to make a living in the arts.
Think about it: if every art history, music performance, poetry, or sculpting major had to spend 20 hours in one week convincing thousands of people that art and culture mattered, maybe we would have both a more educated populace and more dedicated artists!
Every time I get finished pitching on air during a pledge drive, I think back about what I said and ask if I meant what came out of my mouth. In all honesty, I lie not during pledge drives because I truly believe in great music, and I truly believe in public radio. But I know far too many musicians who have one of two attitudes: "I'm so good at my instrument that I deserve work, and people should be honored to be in my presence;" and "Ah, people always buy tickets. We'll be fine, let's go watch 'Biggest Loser Couples.'" Obviously, there are many, many, many musicians who do not feel this way. But few young artists have to actually advocate for their own funding and to actually rationalize why it is that we need a symphony orchestra or an art gallery or a dance company.
So if I ever have the ear of the hypothetical Arts Czar (that debate is for another time), I think I'll humbly suggest that every college music, art, literature, and dance major must work at a public radio station during a pledge drive before they can go out into the world and earn livings as artists. Just one day would be enough, because they'd be repeating the phone number in their heads for weeks afterward. That'll teach 'em!