Listeners of WMHT-FM are familiar with the requests for donations heard throughout the year, but next week marks the station’s annual blitz to seek essential funding.
WMHT-FM’s Winter Fundraising Campaign will take place from Friday, Dec. 5, to Friday, Dec. 12, and the station is targeting $100,000 as the goal.
In just one week.
It’s a goal WMHT Executive Vice President Scott Sauer is confident they can achieve, thanks to the loyalty listeners have shown before.
“During this past year, the WMHT audience has accomplished more than at any time in our history,” said Sauer. “Listener contributions made it possible to deliver more music to more listeners in more ways than ever before.”
Sauer said contributions have enabled the station to broadcast programing by means outside of traditional radio. Now, listeners can enjoy broadcasts through digital radio, streamed media on personal computers and though smart phone applications. The new tools spread the avenues for which patrons can enjoy local broadcasts, but it also provides the non-for-profit radio station a fighting chance against other means of entertainment – computers, satellite radio, phone app games – that compete for listener’s attention.
“After 42-years of providing our region with daily access to Mozart, Bach, Copland, Beethoven and all of the great masters, there is always concern that listeners will take the service for granted,” said Sauer. “That is not something that can happen, as listeners provide the majority of WMHT’s support. The WMHT-FM Winter Fundraising Campaign will provide a direct opportunity for listeners to make the music accessible to everyone in our community.”
Funding has also allowed programs featured through podcasts, and has sponsored live performances. In turn, up to 100 of such live concerts, recorded in the Capital District, were broadcast on WMHT-FM, said Sauer.
The station is just a part of WMHT Educational Telecommunications, and is the only full-service public broadcaster serving Eastern New York and Western New England. WMHT also operates public television stations WMHT, WMHT-World and WMHT-Create TV, as well as public radio stations WMHT-FM 89.1/WRHV-FM 88.7, WEXT-FM 97.7 (both of which are also available via HD radio) and RISE, a radio reading service for the blind and print-disabled. WMHT is supported by more than 30,000 members.
The tools in which WMHT-FM has invested in has provided results. Sauer said last spring WMHT-FM had more classical music listeners per capita than any public radio station in the entire country.
“Contributions from listeners have never been more important; and neither has WMHT’s commitment to making the arts freely available to everyone in our community,” said Sauer. “WMHT listeners understand that the arts are more than just a luxury.”
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.