JOHNSON CITY -- (Sept. 13, 2017) Last week, East Tennessee State University’s public radio station WETS-FM (89.5 MHz) began its fall by soliciting online contributions. This week, listeners can support their favorite NPR programs by telephone as well.
“A lot of people prefer to make their contributions online,” says station manager Wayne Winkler, “so we thought we’d start our drive as an online campaign. But this week we’ve also got volunteers in the studio, taking contributions by telephone. Either method is good. The important thing is that listeners support this station.”
Winkler says listener support is the most important source of funding for public radio stations like WETS. “Government support is not always reliable,” he notes, “and we can always count on our listeners. Support from our community has helped this station grow, and has sustained us through several budget cuts in the past.”
Listener contributions make up nearly half the annual budget of WETS. Funding from ETSU covers the salaries of the staff, but programming costs are covered primarily by listeners. The cost of NPR programming is going up by three percent this fiscal year, and Winkler is counting on listeners to provide the additional funding necessary.
WETS is heard by about 50,000 regular listeners in the region, with thousands more listening worldwide online. In addition to broadcasting programs from NPR and other sources, WETS produces programming which is distributed to other stations regionally and nationally, including American Variety Radio, Women on Air, and Celtic Clanjamphry. WETS was the producing station for Religion for Life, now re-titled Progressive Spirit and produced in Portland, Oregon by the Reverend John Schuck, who relocated there from Elizabethton last year.
Recently, Your Weekly Constitutional, produced by Winkler and Constitutional law professor Stewart Harris, ranked number four in a list of the top 10 legal podcasts by One Legal, a nationwide legal support service.
Listeners can contribute to WETS online at www.wets.org, or by telephone at 888-895-9387 (WETS) from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. through Friday evening. Checks can also be mailed to the station at Box 70630, Johnson City, TN 37614.