PBS Fundraising
(last worked on: May 24th, 2017)
~~An affordable home and huge lot near the Oregon coast~~

* You can Google < fundraising + PBS + idiocy > and find a raft of dismay over the ill-conceived but long standing and seemingly perpetual practice --of interrupting and holding PBS' quality programming ransom, perhaps for two weeks on end, perhaps 3 times per year. (I've read that affiliate stations might have the latitude running their begathons for up to 60 days out of the year!)

* The worst part of it: you can send them any amount of money and it won't get your programs restored. Be my guess we could collectively send in billion$ --and they'd still do fundraising, they'd still take defense industry, Koch brothers and petroleum money.

* I suggest that you go to your public library during fund raising, check out old editions of Nova and other programs you've missed --making sure to donate in support of the library's collection and staff.

* The fundraising portions we're supposed to endure might themselves be prerecorded (hell: station and network staff have better things to do with their time). The alternate programing which keeps getting interrupted is often a marathon length infomercial --perhaps for self improvement books or a pricey seminar, frequently interrupted with ungodly unctuous pledge nagging. Talk about chutzpah and shameless begging! They want you to permit automatic deductions from your bank and credit card accounts, deed over your car, your boat, and then end up sitting with the family when your will is being read ---!

* It's going on 40 years ago that, fed up with marathon fundraising, I wrote a letter in protest, jokingly suggesting that there should be laws against panhandling on the public's airwaves --much as it's prohibited on the public's streets in many jurisdictions. ("Officer: do your duty!" I added.) It drew a postcard response from some anonymous Oregon Public Broadcasting staffer in Portland: "F_ _ _ You".   :-)

That's when I stopped sending in donations: not because I was offended, but because it seemed useless to do so. One initially helps Elmer Gantry put up his tent. Next time, he shows up with a much bigger tent.

* I am not urging an anti-donation campaign.

It's just my choice.

Realistically, public broadcasting is addicted to empire building. If many of us withheld our support, they'd surely refuse to live with that and get ever more indebted to corporate sponsors and the Koch brothers.

From a blurb I heard (before I switched off the fundraising), about 2/3rds of PBS funding (at least here in Oregon) is from "private sources" (an ambiguous term which surely includes oil billionaires). If small private donors were to increase their giving by 50% --do you think for a minute that PBS and affiliates would stop taking some of their corporate donations --or stop begathoning for yet more "private" support? Sending money to PBS/affiliates is like feeding stray cats. (I know about feeding stray cats. We've got 9 at this point.)

In my letter I pointed out that, despite the "public" in their name, I'd never been asked to vote on programming, nor had I been sent a breakdown of the public broadcasting budget --how our donations were spent or where all the money came from. Such matters seem to be none of our business. Forty years later, it's still the same.

This page is simply a bit of sympathy and hand-holding --for others who feel the same way. I don't know how to fix the situation.