Two years ago, jazz trumpeter, Terence Blanchard stood in front of members of the southeast Michigan jazz community to talk about his role as the artist-in-residence for the Detroit Jazz Festival. He marveled at how, in the face of so many challenges, the Detroit Jazz Festival had remained so viable when many other festivals had gone under.
In January of 2011, WEMU took a leap of faith. We promised EMU that we could cut our general fund budget by $250,000 over three years to help offset the 15% cut to higher education the University was facing from the state. We were confident that WEMU’s listeners would step up to the challenge and help offset that cuts that we incurred. And, so far, you have. In 2012 we were able to offset that $50,000 with increased donations from listeners. This year WEMU took a $100,000 cut to our general fund appropriation.
With two strong pledge drives in fall and spring, we are again poised make it up through listener and corporate contributions. But, we can’t do it without your financial gift. We have until June 25 to raise approximately $35,000. $35,000 that goes directly to the programs and people you count on from WEMU. $35,000 that helps us maintain our daily operations and our strong focus on community through local news and local music programming. Without that $35,000 we will be faced with some tough decisions.
Will we be able to continue to bring you the specialty music programs you look forward to each weekend? Will we be able to remain live on weekday evenings? Or will we be forced to go to syndicated programming, which may fill the hours with music, but that lacks the soul, vibrancy, and community connection you get with WEMU?
As the year comes to a close, it’s a tradition to both look back and anticipate what lies ahead. I’m excited to share just a few highlights that your support of WEMU made possible in 2012, and with your continued support, what’s ahead in 2013.
2012 had the most expensive Presidential election in history. WEMU brought you thoughtful and thorough coverage throughout the election cycle, not only on the national level but on the state and local levels as well.
WEMU covered Washtenaw County more throroughly than any other local station; from city council to county commssion, from the devastating Dexter tornado to the record-breaking summer heat wave, from transit to traffic. WEMU will continue to be your best and most trusted local news source in 2013.
WEMU was in your community; onstage at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, marching in the Fourth of July Parade, hosting free 5:01 Jazz shows in downtown Ann Arbor, running shuttle buses to the Detroit Jazz Festival and so much more.
We know you are asked to support many worthy organizations at this time of year. Please take a moment to consider the value that WEMU adds to your life and to the life of the community. Your tax-deductible year-end gift will go a long way toward helping us achieve our goals in the coming year.
Please make your secure online gift at wemu.org by clicking the green DONATE button.
On behalf of the staff of WEMU and our public radio partners, I wish you a joyful holiday season, thank you for your support this year, and look forward to serving you in 2013.