I read an article recently about how the New York Times Corporation has transformed itself from a primarily advertiser supported to a mainly subscriber supported company. With advertising dollars declining in the publishing business for the past few years, the Times decided to test the loyalty of their subscriber base by saying, in effect, "if you want our newspapers, then you will have to pay more for them." Taking quite a risk, the Times nearly doubled their subscription rates. Current subscribers stayed with them, and the company is now meeting its expenses.
The Times' situation might be analogous to that of KDB. We have advertisers who account for half of our operating revenue ... and ... we have members, our charitable donors and listeners, who account for the other half. Our donors are really just like subscribers. Instead of paying for a newspaper or magazine, they are "subscribing" to KDB's programming. The big difference is that if someone stops paying for a newspaper or magazine, the subscription is cancelled. If someone doesn't subscribe to KDB, they can still tune us in ... because others are making up the difference.
The fact is that KDB has over 25,000 regular, weekly listeners who are not subscribing to the programming KDB provides. The only way to convince those listeners to support KDB is over the air. That's why KDB will be holding its second on-air fundraising drive from October 11th to 18th: to reach those who haven't supported this valuable community service yet.
As we enter the fall season, KDB is at an important crossroads. We still must raise $250,000 in donor contributions by the end of the year. We recently sent a letter to our current donors asking for the renewal of their membership to KDB and, if they could, to make a challenge gift for our upcoming on-air drive. (Challenge gifts encourage non-donors to become new members. Nearly 200 people became new members of KDB in our drive last May.)
All those making a gift before the drive begins will be entered in a drawing to receive a pair of season tickets to CAMA's Masterseries. (Listen to KDB for details or visit www.KDB.com.) There will be other drawings during the drive, including one for a pair of season tickets to the Santa Barbara Symphony's 2012-2013 season. Donate early and you will qualify for all drawings during the drive. Use the remit envelope enclosed with this Listener's Guide.
Like the New York Times Corporation, KDB will not move forward into the future on advertising alone ... or for that matter, subscribers only. It must be a combination of both. If you haven't made a donation to KDB, but enjoy our wonderful programming, please do your part and join our 600 current "subscribers" by making your contribution now. And for those of you who have supported us in the past, we need your continued support now more than ever.
P.S. Please let us know what you think of the new KDB by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contactiing me at 805.966.4131 X373.