By Lopa Banerjee, Contributor
On March 19, Omaha’s award-winning commercial-free radio station KVNO Classical 90.7 FM celebrated its 40 years of broadcasting and kicked off its Spring Membership Drive. The two week event ended March 30 and came up just $15,000 shy of its $70,000 fundraising goal. Listeners were able to pledge their support over the phone (402-554-KVNO) or at kvno.org. Through this initiative, the radio station looked forward to increasing more support from the listening community and to renew personal connection with the listeners.
I spoke with Josh Krohn, production coordinator and the new KVNO team leader for the Spring Pledge Drive 2012, who further clarified the mission of the event and how crucial it has been in securing the future of KVNO.
Q: How would you describe the 2012 Spring Membership Drive in respect to the future of Classical 90.7 KVNO?
Krohn: In respect to the future of KVNO, our Spring Pledge Drive is very important. As a public radio station, we depend on the financial support of our listeners to continue our operation. Twice a year, we ask our listeners to step forward and help us keep the lights on. This Spring Drive is over on March 30, and we have a total goal of $70,000. As of today (March 27), we’re almost half way there.
Q: Can you give us a little bit of background information regarding the drive, how it started and how you think its fundraising goals have been accomplished this year?
Krohn: We started planning this drive just after the New Year, shortly after a shift in management. New premium items were researched and purchased, the dates of the drive were reset and more of the staff was brought in to assist with planning and implementation. We won’t know the full impact of the drive until several weeks after it’s complete.
Q: What are the goals of this drive, other than fundraising? Do you think they have been met until now?
Krohn: In addition to meeting our fundraising goals, we also strive to renew our personal connection with our listeners. During our pledge drives, a number of listeners volunteer their time to help us answer the phones. We’re also able to introduce a lot of our staff to the listeners over the air.
Q: How is this drive particularly related to the celebration of 40 years of broadcasting at UNO? What can you say about this milestone achievement of the public broadcasting station at UNO?
Krohn: We’ve deliberately not made a big event out of our 40th year on the air during this drive in possible anticipation of a future event. That said, 40 years is a long time for any organization to last, and we’re proud of the fact that we’re still here going strong, and that our listeners still play a large role in that continuity. We’d like it if our listeners helped to keep us going for another 40 years.
Q: How would you describe the 2012 Spring Membership Drive as a community event at Omaha?
Krohn: KVNO is a community hub for arts and events information, as well as the only place on the radio, in the Omaha area, to listen to classical music. Our Spring Pledge Drive brings hundreds of listeners across the community to us in support of what we do.
Q: Do you think initiatives like this would result in more participation and eventually in more investment from the listening community? How do you think the drive could make it possible?
Krohn: Without the drives (which happen twice a year; it’s a public radio tradition), we would probably lose touch with a lot of our listeners. People have enough going on in their lives already, and without periodic reminders to support their favorite public radio stations, it’s doubtful that we’d maintain our importance to them. Public radio is a partnership between the station and the listeners, and donations from the community cover a large part of our operations’ costs. In the future, I think we can expect to see KVNO branch out to other forms of communication to reach our listeners, including smart phone apps.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the KVNO’s plans for this drive for next year?
Krohn: As mentioned, we have two drives a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Planning usually begins a few months in advance of each drive, so details are difficult to pin down right now.
KVNO received phenomenal responses from the listeners, raising $55,000 through the drive. Describing the Spring Membership Drive this year as one of the best pledge drives the radio station has held in several years, Krohn is visibly excited about the consistent support that has been shown by the KVNO listeners in the city.
“The success of this drive is an affirmation that we should continue to produce and broadcast classical music for the Omaha area, which we’ll be happy to do for as long as our listeners continue to support us,” Krohn said, thanking everyone who became a new member or renewed their membership with KVNO over the last two weeks. We hope the radio station thrives on its success and on the patronage of its listeners for years to come.