Monday, July 30, 2012

Dude Hates Pledge Drives; Computers; Credit Cards

Customers usually don't call to tell businesses how good things are. They normally only call to complain. That's also mostly true at radio stations. Oh, sure, we get calls from people wanting to know what song they just heard or the name of a guest Ed Bremer just interviewed.  But, sometimes, when the phone rings, it's someone with a beef.

So when I answered the phone last week I wasn't too surprised when I heard, "Listen dude, my name is Don and I really get tired of your pledge drives." 

First, I was pleased he called me 'dude.'  But I had to tell Don how wrong he was when he said "You guys do pledge drives all the time!" Actually, Don, we only do it three times a year.  Each time for about 7 to 10 days.  So, about 3 weeks a year we do pledge drives, which means about 49 weeks out of the year we are NOT doing pledge drives.

Don admitted that he hadn't thought about it that way, but then he said, "Yeah, but when you do them you talk non-stop and constantly interrupt whatever I want to listen to." So I told him, actually, we only do about 3 or 4 segments per hour requesting financial support and each segment is about 4 minutes or less. I reminded him that commercial radio stations frequently do 4 or 5 commercial breaks every hour and some of those breaks are 5 minutes long or longer! And they do that 52 weeks out of the year.

I'm feeling like Don is starting to come around, but then he gives me an easy question,"Yeah, but what do you do with all that money?" First of all, in the radio world, it's really not that much.  But here's what we do with it. 

We have a very small paid staff. It covers their salaries. We need to repair and replace broadcast equipment that is in use 24 hours a day (even when we do those pledge drives). We actually have to pay for all the music you listen to in the form of fees to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. We also have to pay to get some of the great national programming that you don't hear anywhere else, like Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.
And The Story with Dick Gordon.
And The Takeaway with Celeste Headlee and John Hockenberry.

Just like Sound Living with Ed Bremer and the information you hear in the mornings from Sondra Santos on KSER, these are all programs with viewpoints and perspectives you are not going to hear on commercial radio.

And along with the electricity bill to run the transmitter, it all costs money.

So Don is no longer quite as agitated as he was at the start of our call. In fact, he's being downright pleasant and says he wants to contribute $100 because he loves the shows on KSER. So I tell him how easy it is to contribute with credit card on our website. That's when Don tells me he hates computers and credit cards. So he agrees to mail us a check. I tell him how much I appreciate it and he says, "You're welcome, dude."

By the way, you can help support all the independent voices you hear on KSER. You can mail us a check, but it's a lot easier here.

And if you've already contributed, thanks!

Two other reminders:
If you're a KSER Member you can vote for our board of directors. Ballots have been mailed to members, so please fill them out and mail them back. The ballots will be tallied at the KSER annual meeting at the KSER Studios August 14. Public invited!

And we've extended the deadline for nominations for this years KSER Voice of the Community Award.  You now have until August 15 to make a nomination of an individual, organization or business that makes a positive community or cultural impact in the North Puget Sound.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Doctor's are OUT. So was the Power.

In the Northwest, everyone wants to be out of the office when the weather is nice. The KSER Doctors are no exception.  It was a picture perfect day in Everett on Thursday, the day for KSER's Sound Healthy Living.  But Dr. Kasra Pournadeali and Dr. Stacy Wells didn't want to be inside.  Who could blame them?

So KSER chief engineer Chris Wartes and news and public affairs director Ed Bremer went to work on moving the studio outside. No easy task. But after a few hours of moving tables and chairs and stringing cable, the crew was able to set up a not-so-remote broadcast. 

If you were walking on Wetmore Ave. Thursday afternoon (or driving by) you had your chance to ask the doctors...on the sidewalk...
By the way, you can "Ask the Doctors" every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. on 90.7 FM or online at  And there's no co-pay. 

Speaking of getting something for of downtown Everett were hit with a power outage Wednesday afternoon.  The KSER Broadcast Megaplex went dark and we were off the air for about 15 minutes. Sunlit Room DJ Mark Hale had to sit in the dark and wait for the power to come back on before resuming his show.

If you were trying to listen during that 15 minute power outage, KSER is offering you a two-for-one free exchange.  You will be allowed to listen for a full 30 minutes at any time of your choosing for no charge.  There is no expiration on this two-for-one offer.

KSER's Ed Bremer gets some very famous guests on his Sound Living show.  For example, last week he actually interviewed Ben Franklin...
 Who knew that a guy from Philly would read the Herald?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Your Contributions Keep Us On the Air and On-Line!

Pledge Drive Re-Cap

Nearly $16,000!  That's how much we raised in our KSER Summer Special Pledge Drive.  Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped out on the air and handling the phones.  It's everyone's contributions - from financial resources to gifts of time - that keep independent community radio on the air serving the public. Thank YOU!

The Ballot's in the Mail

Ballots have been sent to every KSER member.  And now the voting is underway for open positions on the KSER Foundation Board.  We'll count the ballots at the KSER Annual Meeting on August 14, 2012.  Public invited! More information here.

(Remember, if you are not a member, you can vote next  time by making a one-time donation of $35 or more to KSER or contributing 32 hours of volunteer service to the station.)

Voice of The Community Award 

There's less than a week to make a nomination. Know an individual, organization or business that makes a positive community or cultural impact on Snohomish or Island Counties? Now's the time to get your nominations in for the 2012 Voice of the Community Award, sponsored by Adams & Duncan Law Firm. To be considered, nominations must be received by 5 p.m., July 31, 2012. Info at 

KSER Basic Broadcast Class Sold Out

A few times a year KSER DJ Maire Atkinson conducts KSER's Basic Broadcast Class. The class starting next week sold out quickly.  If you're interested, keep an eye on our website for future class opportunities.

Now That's a Shirt  (KSER Volunteer Profile)

Some of us can't start the weekend without Aloha Friday.  KSER's Don Erisman plays the Hawaiian hits every Friday at noon and sometimes he dresses the part.