The station tries to raise about 200,000 annually from its listeners.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- WYSU 88.5, Youngstown State University's public radio station, kicked off its annual fall fundraising effort Friday, offering supporters a variety of prizes, including a 15-day tour of Italy.
The weeklong Fall Fund Membership Drive, with a goal of 91,500, runs for only one week and will end next Friday.
Donors who renew their membership or become new members will automatically be entered in a drawing to win two tickets on a WYSU/Go Ahead Vacation-sponsored "Magic of Italy" tour.
The station conducts two drives each year, one in the spring and the other in the fall, seeking a total of about 200,000 to help cover operating and programming costs, which amount to 800,000 a year
Gary Sexton, station manager, said this year's spring drive met its goal of 91,000. Last fall's goal was 87,500 and the station surpassed that target, garnering 93,670.
WYSU has been conducting the drives for years, and at one time was seeking only 20,000- 25,000 a year to supplement its other revenue sources, according to Sexton.
The station has become more dependent on its listeners over the years, though it tries to remain realistic about what it can expect in terms of community support, he said.
The station also gets funds from the university, business and corporate sponsors and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The membership drive offers various levels of contributor commitment.
The basic membership is 35 a year and gets the donor the WYSU "Classic Card," which entitles the holder to discounts at local restaurants, retailers and events.
A 200 donation gets the donor a "Day Sponsor" designation and a free on-air announcement honoring a loved one or special event.
A 1,000 membership gets the donor a Polartech WYSU jacket.
Last fall, Sexton offered to buy lunch for anyone making a donation of that size but that's not on the table this fall. The jacket is worth much more than lunch with him, he said.
Sexton said the station normally gets four or five memberships at that level each fund drive.
Donations can be made by phone at (330) 941-3363 or by visiting the station Web site at www.wysu.org.