Despite the very cold mornings of late, there are signs that spring is indeed here. The daffodils are blooming, the grass is getting greener (and growing), and, oh yes, WETS-FM is fundraising. As we’ve said at this time of year many times before: Public radio may be free, but the programming heard on WETS is not.
Shows like “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me,” “Car Talk” and “A Prairie Home Companion” don’t come cheap. Neither do the locally produced talk, news and music shows. That’s why WETS asks its listeners to dig deep into their pockets twice a year to help pay the bills for these programs.
As Press Assistant News Editor Rex Barber reported this week, WETS kicked off its spring fundraising drive Wednesday with the news that the sequester has claimed $10,000 of the limited federal dollars the local public radio station receives annually.
It’s often a struggle for the station to collect the donations needed to cover its programming costs. Too many fans of WETS have been content to let someone else carry the financial load. Some mistakenly believe the federal government will take up the slack. That’s not the case.
More than half the funding for WETS comes from listener support. The rest comes from other sources, including state and federal grants.
It was those grants and listener support that has allowed WETS to add three HD channels to its programming. The station now broadcasts channels that offer news, classical music and bluegrass.
Contributing to WETS is a worthy investment in a broadcast outlet that enriches our lives daily. The public radio station is operated as a partnership between East Tennessee State University and its listeners. And it’s listeners who pay the costs for most of the programming heard on the air.
Contributions to WETS can be made online at www.wets.org or by calling 888-895-9387. Donations also can be made by using a Visa or MasterCard, or listeners can ask to be billed later. The sooner you make your pledge, the quicker it will be for the station to reach its fundraising goal and return to its normal programming schedule.