NPR Optimism

If your an avid NPR listener like I am, you’re used to the pledge drives they have every so often throughout the year.

For those who aren’t familiar, National Public Radio, better known as NPR, is funded largely by donations from the folks that listen to it. Several times a year each station holds a pledge drive, where they ask for donations on the air. They encourage listeners to “call in and support your local NPR station today.”

They set goals during these drives to help measure and encourage progress. Some goals are long term, but most goals that they share on-air are either daily or hourly. This is where things get kind of funny sometimes.

Listening to the spring pledge drive on Oregon Public Broadcasting today one of the hosts said, “Our goal this hour is $2,700…”

“Right now”, he continued, “we’ve only got $2,100 to go, so go ahead and give us a call or visit our website.”

There were only about 25 minutes left in the hour. He continued on in a calming voice, talking about all the great things that OPB offers.

Wait…with less than half an hour to go they had only reached $600 of their $2,700 hourly goal, yet that weren’t freaking out? Of course not, this is NPR.

No matter how far off of their hourly or daily goal they may be, they always have such a radiant optimism in their voices. To some degree, this optimism seems blind and sometimes ignorant, but at the same time it’s contagious and it makes the listener feel like it’s never too late to chip in and help out – that goal can still be reached!

Is this too optimistic? While NPR has definitely had its share of financial stress as an organization, gobs of people still make that call or click to contribute. So maybe their optimism isn’t completely blind after all.