You know it's fall in Cleveland when the leaves turn, the Browns take up residence on the lakefront and 90.3 WCPN ideastream unleashes a horde of on-air hosts, producers and directors for its 10-day pledge drive Oct. 15-24. With hosts vamping to fill airtime between segments of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, anxiety at meeting hourly goals and pure joy when a last-minute donation comes in, it's must-listen radio. We asked three WCPN veterans what it's like to go for the green.
Mike McIntyre, Host, The Sound of Ideas
ðŸ"» The toughest thing is when you talk about the gifts. There's only so much you can say about a fleece hoodie.
ðŸ"» It's unscripted. There's so much going on in your mind. What we get when we do this is the experience of being live, and that's a really cool feeling. It's fun to throw out something people aren't expecting.
ðŸ"» A few years ago, we offered a Mike McIntyre mini bobblehead. It was highly embarrassing. It was offered at the very lowest pledge level. People were purposely giving at $100, so they could avoid getting it.
ðŸ"» My wife pledges while I'm on the air pitching, and she always declines the gift. I'm never happy about it.
Dee Perry, Host, The Sound of Applause
ðŸ"» My first week on the job here I was in the pledge drive.
ðŸ"» I did not know what hit me. I came from commercial radio where there was no such animal as going on-air and telling people to send you money.
ðŸ"» You use every tool in your arsenal. You've got to keep up the energy and the urgency. You have to be on message.
ðŸ"» In the early days, we had guests.
ðŸ"» Harvey Webster, [of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History], was talking about birds, and he said something about the resplendent quetzal. The name of that bird set us off laughing.
Kent Geist, Specialist, fundraising programs
ðŸ"» Most other fundraisers get to hug their donors. Our customers here are anonymous. We rarely get to meet them.
ðŸ"» Now that we're on the Internet, we get pledges from all over the world. I remember getting one from someone at a nuclear power plant in Japan.
ðŸ"» The higher the amount of the pledge, the less interested they are in the gifts. But if someone comes in with $5,000, they pretty much get anything they want out of the closet.
ðŸ"» We don't usually hit our goal until the last day of the drive — often not until the last hours. The urgency builds as it goes. We take these goals seriously.