SPRINGFIELD -- WUIS 91.9FM-WIPA 89.3FM, the local affiliate of National Public Radio broadcast from the University of Illinois at Springfield, recently completed its most successful fundraiser ever, raising more than $120,000 in donations from individuals and businesses throughout central and west central Illinois.
Station Development Director Lisa Stott said that the money brought in by the nine-day fundraiser held in late March will help pay for programming -- such as Morning Edition, Car Talk, and This American Life -- that WUIS purchases from nationwide distributors NPR, Public Radio International, and American Public Media at an annual cost of more than $180,000.
Station Manager Bill Wheelhouse noted that while WUIS has conducted pledge drives for nearly 30 years, this was the highest goal ever set. Wheelhouse said that the increase was necessary to keep up with rising expenses related to national programming as well as technical maintenance. "In the past six months, we've reinstituted a link in Jacksonville that is giving our WIPA listeners an improved signal," he said. "We are making technical improvements every day and every little hook and wire adds up."
Wheelhouse said that in fiscal 2006 more than 30 percent of the station's budget came from membership donations. "We are very grateful for the support of the community," he said.
Both Wheelhouse and Stott are quick to note that community support extended beyond making pledges, however. During the fundraiser more than 200 volunteers answered phones and went on the air to ask for support. Several area establishments donated food and beverages for the volunteers, and a number of corporations offered challenge grants to encourage membership contributions. "It just goes to show that public radio is really a community endeavor and a community resource," Stott said.
WUIS-WIPA is a listener-supported public radio service of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS. The station's mission is to satisfy a curious, societally engaged audience through programming and community outreach. For more information, to listen, or for the program schedule, go to www.wuis.org.