Asheville public radio station WCQS [recently conducted] another time-consuming on-air fund drive. I understand the station’s need to raise money, but can anyone name another nonprofit, other than a public radio or TV station, that raises funds by annoying their most avid supporters by depriving them, day after day, of the reason for their financial support — namely, excellent, uninterrupted programming? To me this is a bit like the National Wildlife Federation trying to raise funds by threatening to kill a wild animal every day until supporters contribute more money. Or the American Cancer Society threatening to hold off research for a cure until their supporters send in their checks.
WCQS claims that the use of their airwaves to reach contributors is the most cost-effective way of doing this, and most other public radio and TV stations use the same method. This may be true, but no other developed country on this planet that I know of employs this tactic for funding public broadcasting. Isn't it about time that we in the U.S. came up with a better way?
For example, why not charge the commercial broadcasters an annual license fee to use the public airwaves with the funds going to fund the public broadcasters?
— Fred Flaxman