WVXU radio fund drive begins this week

Annual event is critical source of revenue for public radio station; premiums include art museum and grass garden store | September 2, 2004

A tour of the lost city of Petra or an evening spent amidst swaying river grass are two of the top premiums being offered by WVXU 91.7 FM radio's annual fall fund drive.

The drive, which begins Wednesday, Sept. 8, and continues through Wednesday, Sept. 15, is one of two held each year seeking donations that support operations at the public radio station located on Xavier's campus.

The fall and spring fund-raising events are vital to the station's success, contributing to the 95 percent of total revenue that comes from membership support, said director Vickie Jones.

"This fund drive is critical to our operation because we are over 95 percent self-funded," she said. "Our three major sources of income are membership contributions, underwriting by sponsors on the air and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."

That subsidy, however, goes right back to the corporation to pay annual programming fees to National Public Radio and Public Radio International. The station also gets a few private grants each year, including from the Dater Foundation and the Seasongood Foundation.

"The bulk of what we raise in membership is a result of the fund drives," she said.

The station's goal for the fall fund drive is $300,000. Its annual budget is $3 million, of which more than $1 million is derived from membership support, she said.

The premiums this year include a members-only reception and tour of the upcoming exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum on Thursday, Nov. 4. Pledges of $78 per person pay for drinks and hors d'oeuvres at the museum and a tour of the exhibit Petra: Lost City of Stone with the museum director.

Green thumb listeners may prefer to pledge $90 per person for a night on Friday, Oct. 15, at the Ohio River Grass garden store in the East End neighborhood of Cincinnati. Members will be treated to a reception and catered dinner with a jazz music trio and a tour of the gardens of grass. They will also receive a potted grass and a chance at a drawing to win a grass garden design for their homes.

Many other premiums, valuable items and pledge levels are available.

WVXU is the flagship station of the X-Star Radio Network of seven public radio stations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. The fund drive in Cincinnati relies on volunteers to help take calls from pledgers. Anyone wanting to volunteer two hours of their time may call 458-3144.