Message from the General Manager
There’s a sense of anticipation at the station this month as we mark a couple of significant firsts. The most important is our launch of The Grand Challenge, the largest new member-challenge initiative in WGBY’s history. In addition, for the first time ever, our fiscal year is changing!
At first blush you may say, “big deal,” but for more than 40 years, WGBY’s fiscal year has started on September 1. Ending the fiscal year at the height of summer made many activities downright difficult. This year, WGBY will conclude the fiscal year on June 30, like most other non-profit organizations. This shift means that this year, we need to squeeze many annual expenses into a 10-month year. It’s a significant challenge, but one we think is worth it for the long haul.
Now for the really exciting news: For the last year, we’ve been telling you that while many traditional TV audiences are shrinking, WGBY’s audience is growing and now includes more viewers than it’s had in more than five years. We’re proud of the service we’ve built around the music, drama, news, children’s programs and local communities you care about. And we know you’re watching WGBY differently; not only over the air or on cable, but on your desktop, tablet or even on your smartphone.
That’s the good news! The challenge is that our traditional ways of reaching new members to join you in supporting WGBY aren’t as effective as they used to be. The math is simple: more members equal more programs on WGBY. So, working with a committed group of WGBY donors and community leaders, we’ve launched The Grand Challenge, an initiative designed to welcome 1,000 new or rejoining members to WGBY by June 30.
How does it work? When 1,000 new or rejoining members support WGBY between May 20 and June 30, WGBY will receive a matching gift of $100,000. That’s a $100 match, per donor, for the first 1,000 new or rejoining donors.
The Grand Challenge is a hugely ambitious project designed to engage more viewers and reduce the need for on-air fundraising. The key to its success is you. Your ongoing annual support is critically important as we work to reach our goal of 1,000 donors. When you receive a piece of mail or a donation request this month, please do what you can. Then, stay tuned for updates on The Grand Challenge and cheer us on to June 30!
(Oh, and why is a fiscal year change “exciting”? Because I can write about something different in August this year!)
Russell J. Peotter