Mark your calendars. Your campus and community radio station, UMFM 101.5, is bringing Pledge-O-Rama back during the week of Oct. 17-24.
With the goal of raising $28,000, the station needs your support during this annual fund drive to continue to broadcast music and talk radio of all varieties.
The weeklong pledge drive, which first began in 2012, was created out of financial necessity.
“Since 1998, the station has been run on roughly the same amount of funding through our student levy. As the costs associated with running UMFM have continued to rise [and] our student funding has stayed the same, you can quickly see how the [goal] just makes sense,” says UMFM station manager Jared McKetiak.
The money raised from the event goes towards the general maintenance of the station. Everything from basic microphones and cables to larger fixed costs like the radio tower rent are financed by the annual drive.
McKetiak says that the funds raised during the pledge drive represent about 15-20 per cent of UMFM’s annual operating budget.
As a non-profit organization, UMFM prides itself on the uniqueness of music and talk programming by its volunteer hosts. For the week of Pledge-O-Rama, program director Michael Elves says to expect special programming.
“We turn the dial up to 11,” says Elves.
With show hosts bringing in local bands to play live, developing their own unique pledge products, or teaming up with other radio programs, every show provides their own distinctive inducement to pledge towards the station.
“It’s a bit like watching a plate spinner keep adding more plates one atop the other,” says Elves.
Going into its third year, the structure of Pledge-O-Rama has only continued to improve.
“Admittedly, things were a little hectic in years one and two as we got our bearings, but we’re confident that this year is going to be our most successful Pledge-O-Rama yet,” says McKetiak.
For the first time, the station has also added three live events during the week, including a kickoff show at the West End Cultural Centre on Oct. 16 co-sponsored by Half Pints Brewing Co.
The show featured The Noble Thiefs, Kieran West & His Buffalo Band, and Surprise Party – three popular local acts that have received airplay from the station. Tickets were only available by pre-pledging $25 or more, or through various show giveaways.
The event is seen as a “thank you” to listeners before the week’s chaos ensues.
As with the past two years, UMFM offers one-of-a-kind products to pledgers based on the amount they decide to pledge.
For $25, supporters receive a UMFM Friends with Benefits card—which offers special deals to many local Winnipeg businesses—as well the Transmissions From UMFM 101.5 2014 CD.
The CD is a compilation of songs from local artists who recorded live sessions in the UMFM recording studio.
Brand new items for this year’s pledge drive include a UMFM toque, travel mug, and hoodie.
While there is a fiscal objective underlying Pledge-O-Rama, the larger theme remains the sense of community brought by both the volunteers and the larger Winnipeg community during the week.
“It’s great to see so many UMFM volunteers, new and old, getting to know one another and all jumping in to work towards a common, united goal. It’s also great to hear from so many of our listeners who are raising their voices in support of what we do,” says McKetiak.
“It’s a pretty overwhelming, amazing feeling!”
Pledge-O-Rama runs from Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m to Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. You can pledge online www.umfm.com/info/donate, over the phone during the week 204-474-6610, or in person 210 University Centre.