Today I celebrate my 25th anniversary at WEMU. It hardly seems possible. I’m so grateful to have been given the amazing opportunity to be a part of something I love and believe in so strongly.
A lot has happened over 25 years. Technology has exploded, new platforms have emerged, and the media landscape is very different than it was in 1991. The NPR brand grew stronger and many stations dropped their local programming in favor of more network news, talk, and information. Music formats became harder to find.
But the biggest change has been the funding model for public broadcasting. When I began my job in 1991, 75% of WEMU’s operating budget came from federal and state sources and 25% came from individuals and corporations. Today those percentages are almost completely reversed with nearly 75% of our operating budget coming from individuals and corporations while state and federal funding accounts for 25%. This change has been gradual but, every year, we depend more and more on you, our listeners, to keep WEMU strong and sustainable.
And you do! Because of your strong support, WEMU has been able to go against the trend of all network programming and maintain our dual format of jazz and news. In fact, WEMU is the number one station in the US, in market share, for stations with a jazz/news format. Earlier this month we learned that our weekly audience is now almost 50,000; the highest it’s been since right before I started my job in November of 1991. Clearly we are doing something right.
On Tuesday, November 29, WEMU will participate in Giving Tuesday, a national day of philanthropy. Our goal is $50,000 toward our overall goal of $500,000 by December 31. We’ll have an all-day jazz jam session in the Multicultural Lounge, from 10a to 5p, station tours, and a one-day pledge drive. We hope to begin the day with $25,000 and have those gifts matched for a total of $50,000 by 7:00 p.m. You can help us get started by making a gift today.
Twenty-five years may have passed but I still feel as though I’m just getting started. There is no limit to what WEMU can do and your gift will make that possible. Please make yours today.
Sincerely, Molly Motherwell WEMU General Manager
*These percentages are based on WEMU's current budget needs, not total dollars raised in the previous fiscal year, which were below projections. Percentages also do not include WEMU's sports broadcast budget which is a stand alone fund that does not support day to day operations.