I’m sure WW readers noticed OPB radio suspended its pledge drive while the Egyptians were revolting. OPB seemed pretty proud of itself, but weren’t officials just following NPR’s decision? —Helen Highwater
If you think the Egyptians were revolting, you should meet my ex-wife. Ba-da-BOOM!
But seriously, folks, Helen’s question reflects the popular misconception (popular with me, anyway) that OPB’s pledge drive is part of a monolithic National Pledge Week during which all public radio stations badger you for cash simultaneously.
If you think about it (rather than just guiltily switching to KGON), it’s an easy mistake to make. I always assumed that NPR did a special pledge-week edition of All Things Considered with extra-long gaps between stories, to be filled with the local talent’s breathless, slightly hysterical haranguing. But according to OPB radio VP Lynne Clendenin, the station doesn’t follow a coordinated “drive week.”
Which means it’s breaking into the regular shows. So, how come OPB never cuts back to the national feed mid-sentence? Is there some mystical, Taos-like hum that warns the initiated when Robert Siegel is about to speak?
Probably, but that’s not how they do it. “Typically, we edit programs like ATC in order to add breaks during the [pledge] drive,” says Clendenin. Remember, ATC is only live on the East Coast, so OPB has a brief window to get an edited version together. Still, it sounds pretty hectic, especially when you consider public-radio folks aren’t exactly the type to have reliable meth connections.
But to return to the question you actually asked (rather than the different one I found interesting), it was OPB’s call. “[We] decided to halt the drive for special coverage,” says Clendenin. “There was no question.” The noble spirit of journalism? You bet. Now pay up.