"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Business End of Michigan Radio's Pledge Drive

You may see a boring picture. What do I see?

I see my view between 5:45 am and 9:00 am during six recent early mornings.

Accepting listener pledges for Michigan Radio is done sans computer. The pledge form, at first glance seemingly archaic, ensures a simple and efficient experience both for the volunteer and the donor. On the few occasions calls ran long, it was almost always because the donor and I found ourselves chatting about favorite programs.

Out of frame to the right was a TV screen that enabled me to spy Christina Shockley and Jennifer White--the talented and professional duo on-air during the wee hours of the morning. It's cool to watch them employ deliberate gestures, both facial and hand, to achieve the effortless and lively conversational tone heard on the airwaves.

Lastly, there is the donut of all donuts, baked fresh that morning at Washtenaw Dairy. This glazed wreath of dough, gilded in rainbow sprinkles, happens to be the only 0 trans fat donut made in Washtenaw County.

Volunteering during the station's semi-annual pledge drive is surprisingly refreshing. This was my second drive manning a phone. It's a change of pace from what I do for a living. It's a chance to visit with other proactive citizens. Fellow volunteers ranged from grad students changing the world, to businessmen squeezing in an hour of volunteering before heading to the office, to married couples volunteering together on a Saturday, to the backbone of American volunteerism--the retirees, who can remember when WUOM 91.7 FM started broadcasting in 1948.

Lest I create a false sense of utopia, this enjoyable experience happened in the real world. I fielded a handful of complaints from people who managed to be both disenchanted and respectful at the same time. Bottom line: it felt good to be a part of something worthwhile and optimistic.


  1. Thanks for volunteering Jake. We couldn't do it without folks like you.

    Vincent Duffy

  2. You'll do just about anything for a sprinkled donut. I'm proud of you for volunteering in a great cause. The donut is really just an added bonus!!

  3. Nope. As I told a fellow volunteer soon after she sat down next to me to start her shift, "For me, it's all about the donut." ;-)