Despite a controversy over the leadership of National Public Radio and congressional budget attacks on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, local radio affiliates are reporting strong support from listeners where it matters most - meaning dollars.
WFAE-FM (90.7), Charlotte's key NPR affiliate, finished its annual spring fund drive this week with a half-million dollars in pledges, believed to be a record. WDAV-FM (89.9), the Davidson-based classical music station, did so well it ended its drive nine hours early. And South Carolina's ETV network, which operates Rock Hill-based WNSC-FM (88.9), said trends were also promising.
It is a major upswing, public broadcasters say, from recent years when donations plunged as the region's economy tanked. And NPR's recent troubles appeared to have little impact on listener fundraising, vital to the stations' budgets.
Vivian Schiller, National Public Radio's president, resigned this week after a video surfaced showing a network fundraiser calling the tea party movement "seriously racist." This came in the wake of the firing of conservative analyst Juan Williams over comments about Muslims. And Republicans in Congress are calling for an end to federal underwriting for CPB - $430 million this fiscal year.
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