Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 33 - June 13, 1996
We are responding to the April 25 Spectrum article "Concerns Expressed about WVTF" by Demetri Telionis from the perspective of long-time fund drive volunteers, as well as long-time listeners to WVTF.
We agree with professor Telionis that the budget appears to be "increasing by leaps and bounds." The fund-drive goals have increased significantly over the past several years. We assume this is the "budget" professor Telionis is referring to. The total budget is a different matter and was addressed by Larry Hincker in "Another View of WVTF" in the May 9 issue of Spectrum.
Even though the overall budget has not changed recently, we have gotten increased power, two added transmitters (Marion and Charlottesville), and 24-hour programming.
Professor Telionis is displeased with WVTF's programming. So are we! They don't program what we want and when we want it. What public should public radio serve--only those who want classical music? We have taken pledges from people in Harrisonburg, North Carolina, West Virginia, and places east of Charlottesville, as well as points in between; from people ages 8 to 80; from those who regret they can only afford to pledge $2 to those who pledge $200 or more. Their preferred programming is as varied as their geographic locations, age, and financial situation. How can one radio station please such a varied audience but with varied programming? Public radio exists as an alternative to commercial radio; it is non-profit but is not free. Bills must be paid. Listener contributions cover a significant portion of the operating costs. We must all agree to support WVTF because we like some of what we hear and we must also support WVTF because we want others to hear some things they like, even though we may not. Otherwise we all lose.
We urge professor Telionis, and others, to spend some time as a telephone volunteer during the future fund drives. Get to know the real public that WVTF serves; see for yourselves what programs people support with their contributions; meet listeners who care enough about their public radio station to donate their time, their talents, as well as their money.
Larry D. Mitchell, Randolph professor of mechanical engineering
Leanne D. Mitchell, mechanical engineering, '82 senior partner, Tejay Co.