Host Ken Jones talks with Don Merrill, author of the book Pledge: The Public Radio Fund Drive. Don’s a career journalist, writer, and broadcaster. He’s been a producer and reporter for civilian and Armed Forces Broadcasting, worked for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and was a public affairs specialist for the Federal Government. And, you might have heard his work here on KBOO.
Don especially loves working in radio, and has been an avid public radio listener and supporter. Which led him to write Pledge. The book started as an inquiry into the origins and anatomy of the pledge drive, what’s become a necessary piece of the funding for public and community radio stations. But in the course of researching and writing, Don’s book grew beyond pledge drives and covers the origins of public radio; the similarities and differences between public and community radio stations; the internal workings of NPR and associated public radio networks such as PRX, PRI, APM, and APR; the rise and fall of public radio personalities; the struggle for funding, and the high costs of taking that funding from the federal government and big corporations; and, what might lie beyond pledge drives and the current state of public radio.
As you can imagine, Pledge is a big book, and an important one for all public and community radio listeners.