It feels like Illinois is lost without a map these days. The current quiet drive is trying to navigate the fog but has been slow moving as of late. An additional $60,000 is needed to reach goal by next Tuesday (May 31). If we're still short of our destination then, we'll go into OVERDRIVE June 1.
I am so appreciative for the Calendar Club members and other donors who support NPR Illinois. I hear this sentiment from staff, members, and listeners. It's what makes public radio special.
You hear frequently that your support is important. It is. Our funding mix is changing and membership donations, your donations, are the most dependable fuel we have. We must grow membership to cover state support that is dwindling away. Existing donors have given, given frequently, become Calendar Club members, and increased their annual total donation. If you haven't or if you are inclined, please consider increasing your support. That will help.
We continue to navigate toward growing the number of listeners and getting those who have never given to start. You can help through word of mouth. Please ask your friends and family if they listen and if they don't, make the case why they should try NPR Illinois. If the old 10% rule holds, we'll grow support as we grow the audience.
Your recruiting skills mater. Members are reliable. The Illinois Arts Council grant Illinois public broadcasters usually receive hasn't arrived this year. The 20% of our operating cash from the University of Illinois Springfield is uncertain as higher education funding has been cut over 70% this year and there's no budget for next year.
The ride may be over for two programs... The Best of Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion have shared stories and laughs with us for decades. Both programs are expensive. The recent audience survey showed some fatigue with the Car Talk reruns and other listeners are ready for Garrison's retirement. The timing and cost combined with budget pressure is making the sunset of these programs probable.
As I write this, one program supplier called and understands the pressure Illinois public radio stations are experiencing. They are willing to negotiate but still need to fund their programs. The amount we will be able to pay is unknown until there's a state budget. We'll have more certainty if this fund drive makes or exceeds its goal. Please encourage your circle to support NPR Illinois.