On a brisk morning, I jump into my car, reach first for the heat, and then for the radio. The KQED morning anchors are already droning on about the winter Fund drive interrupting my flow of news. Leaving from the Outer Sunset for Palo Alto with the ocean on my right, I decide to make the call.
“Thank you for calling KQED…”
Before the volunteer can go on, I launch into animated platitudes.
“I’m so grateful for KQED’s reporting, I listen every morning on my commute to stay informed, what you do is sooo important, now more than ever, especially in this era of post-fact journalism…” blah blah blah
The gruff voice on the other end quickly moves me along:
“Mam, how much would you like to pledge?”
Slightly annoyed, I give my information to become a Sustaining Member.
To my surprise, he asks…“Would you like to be transferred to a voicemail box to share how you feel about KQED?”
“Why yes! Yes, I would!” (As I think to myself – AHA! That’s how it works…)
I arrive at the studio at 7:45 AM on a Saturday morning, greeted by fellow volunteers and toasted bagels.
Ken runs us through the script, the how-to. As May gives out prizes and updates us on our fundraising totals, the what’s what.
We’re “On Air”, in a live studio, many anxious first-time volunteers, and a few old hands, of ALL ages, from ALL over the Bay area – Fairfax, Dublin, Campbell, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose. Our callers are even more diverse and wide-ranging – from Sonoma, Davis, Pleasanton, Monterey, even Idaho!
We’re united by a love of public radio, a desire to give, AND these most uncertain of times.
At breaks, volunteers share fears and concerns. We share our stories and hopes. Our callers share them too! Encouraged, we eagerly await the next call, and the chance to connect.
Matching challenges and bonus gifts heat up the phone lines. With the roar of activity, it’s difficult to hear, but easy to tell, we’re on a roll!
We close the day as the 2nd highest in Ken’s Fund drive experience with more than $70,000 in contributions!
The record, however, is clearly tied to this year’s election results – a heavy price to pay for our self-satisfaction!
Like never before, Americans are joining in, rising up, and making a difference together – for KQED, the ACLU, our National Parks, Planned Parenthood, and most importantly, for one another.
By standing up for our values, I only hope that we can counter the pervasive fear that now exists in order to reclaim what’s already been lost and triumph over what is yet to come.