MISSOULA – Montana Public Radio will ask listeners for their support during its Spring Pledge Drive, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MTPR’s rescheduled drive begins at 6 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, and runs until 9 a.m. Monday, June 8.
The pledge drive and MTPR are made possible thanks to the involvement of thousands of people dedicated to public broadcasting in Montana. Listener contributions are vital and make up 75% of MTPR’s income annually.
“Montana Public Radio is really a community effort – our wonderful staff who make sure this service goes out every day no matter what challenges we face and, of course, our amazing listeners who step forward and support this work not only for themselves but also for those who can’t donate right now,” said Ray Ekness, director of the University of Montana Broadcast Media Center and MTPR general manager. “This team effort is truly inspiring, and it’s never been stronger as we celebrate our 55th anniversary this year.”
MTPR Director of Membership Anne Hosler said the decision to postpone this year’s Spring Pledge Drive was difficult but the right choice “because we knew people needed uninterrupted coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and also the other music and children’s programs on our service that bring a respite from the news. While the drive was postponed, however, the need for listener donations cannot be postponed.”
This spring’s drive will look a little different in an era of social distancing and phased reopening of the state. Instead of volunteers coming into the station, MTPR will use a smaller in-house phone bank staffed with MTPR employees placed six feet apart to take pledges over the phone.
“Above all, we want to set a good example and follow the public health best practices to keep everyone safe – especially our staff and volunteers,” Hosler said. “We will really miss the volunteers coming into the studio to help, but we want to keep them safe and healthy.”
Another spring drive tradition, listener-donated thank-you gifts, will be offered but with some added precautions and guidance from the health department.
“We’re working closing with the Missoula County Health Department to determine what thank-you gifts we can offer, and while most of the traditional favorites will be available, homemade baked goods and food items will not be accepted this time,” explained Hosler. “We know those items are popular, but we’re going to have to skip those this year, and we’re hopeful that we can bring them back in the future.”
During the pledge week, listeners can pledge online at https://www.mtpr.org, call 800-325-1565 or mail in pledges to MTPR at 32 Campus Drive, Missoula, Montana, 59812.
“Listeners are passionate about Montana news and programs, but it takes their financial support in any amount to make those programs a reality,” Ekness said.
Montana Public Radio is a service of UM. MTPR FM broadcast stations include 89.1 Missoula (KUFM), 91.5 Missoula, city (K218AI), 91.9 Hamilton (KUFN), 89.5 Polson (KPJH), 90.1 Kalispell, Whitefish, North Valley (KUKL), 90.5 Libby (KUFL), 91.7 Kalispell, city (K219BN), 101.3 Swan Lake (K267BJ), 91.3 Butte (KAPC), 91.7 Helena (KUHM), 91.7 Dillon (K219DN) and 89.9 Great Falls (KGPR).