Of late, over the past few years, I have been subjected to fundraising campaigns on the radio from our local station. They ask for money. When these come on, I usually guiltlessly change the channel. I say "guiltlessly" because I feel absolutely no obligation to donate to public radio. I suppose I just don't find it important enough. So sue me. If I am going to donate money, it is going to be to cancer research for children or to a local "soup kitchen" for the poor or to an arts fund. NPR is low on my list.
|Me, on the left; NPR on the right.|
But now, I think the powers-that-be at NPR have decided that the time is right to start trying to make me (and all listeners, I am forced to admit through my lens of maniacal egocentrism) feel guilty for not supporting them with donations. They have never done this before -- not in all the years I have been listening. Why now?
One presenter is all about comparing Nation Public Radio to a buffet: "Would you take food from a buffet and run without paying?" Well, no I wouldn't. But that's the new theme: You owe us. If you listen to and enjoy our shows, pay up. Faulty comparisons are not going to work on me, though. Paying for a sandwich at a buffet is required. Donating to NPR is voluntary.
Again, I ask: "Why now?" Why is the time right, in the minds of the promo people at NPR to use this tactic? Why has it gone from purely, "We need you help -- we can't do it without you?" to "You owe us, so fork it over or you will have to live with yourself for stealing our services."
Tides, my friends, that's why. The ongoing shift to the irresistible power of the massive (but [purportedly] gentle) mob.
Somewhere in between "the buffet" and the kid who walks up to my house without my knowledge, washes my car and demands payment for it, lies NPR.
It ain't happening. On a list that contains clothing and feeding my kids; helping those in real need and nourishing my soul with music and books, NPR is not just low, it is a non-entity. The guilt just won't work. In fact, it pushes me even farther from wanting to help.
Thanks for some good programming, NPR, but if you fold tomorrow, I'll be okay. And you can take your increasingly pushy guilt campaign and shove it up your nose.