Problem: You need $347,000 to run your business for the next six months.
Public radio works
to raise funds in
the face of disaster
The company keeps people informed of rapidly changing developments in the U.S. war against terrorists; it also helps them transcend it all for a time with classical music on KHPR (88.1 FM Honolulu), KKUA (90.7 FM Wailuku) and KANO (91.1 FM Hilo) and through other music programming on KIPO (89.3 FM Honolulu) and KIFO (1380 AM Pearl City).
Problem: You can't sell commercials. These funds must come from people already sending away large sums to ease suffering resulting from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
Additional wrinkle: Increasing numbers of the people you hope will be donors face downturns in their businesses or paychecks -- some may have been laid off.
In spite of the odds, listener-supported Hawaii Public Radio forged ahead with its planned 10-day fall pledge drive yesterday morning by turning to its listeners.
It helps that one of them is Henry Clark, king of matching funds for nonprofit organizations. Clark agreed to match each new $50 membership called in from the neighbor islands.
Hawaii Public Radio board member Nancy Bannick also offered a matching fund challenge. Bannick is "one of our heavy hitters," said HPR Promotions Manager Judy Neale.
For the first hours of the pledge drive therefore, every new neighbor island membership brought $150 to HPR.
Clark and Bannick joined HPR President Michael Titterton around a microphone-laden table in the stations' Atherton Performing Arts Studio to get the phones ringing and read pledges.
Freelance writer Susan Arritt, one of the raft of volunteers answering pledge phones, said a caller, employed by the U.S. Department of Defense, had just relocated to the islands from his previous job at the Pentagon.
"He was so relieved to find Public Radio," she said. He told her, "Morning Edition (the morning news program) is my first intelligence report of the day."
Another caller said after the terrorist attack his habit of searching the dial for news ended when he found Public Radio. "I've found what I've been missing," he told her.
"It is very touching, (because) they're talking about something that's so meaningful to them," Arritt said.
HPR junkies have helped the last two 10-day fund-drives end early.
Titterton said on the air that Hawaii Public Radio is "addictive."
"Like with any other habit, it costs a certain amount to support."
Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached