88.1 FM WESU Begins Holiday Pledge Drive

Ben Michael, general manager of 88.1 FM WESU is asking listeners to donate this holiday season during the Fourth Annual Winter Pledge Drive.Wesleyan's own non-commercial, listener-supported radio station, 88.1 FM WESU is hoping listeners give the gift of WESU this holiday season during its Fourth Annual Winter Pledge Drive Dec. 1-14.

Operating as a community service of Wesleyan since 1939, WESU has served Connecticut river valley listeners for nearly seven decades and is one of the oldest college radio stations in America. Currently WESU offers a robust daytime public affairs schedule and creative and cultural musical and free-form programming during the evenings and weekends.

This year WESU aims to raise $35,000 in listener and community support towards sustaining their annual operating budget of roughly $100,000. With Wesleyan’s administration and the Wesleyan Student Assembly covering the remaining balance of the budget, WESU remains a model for meaningful partnerships between Wesleyan University and the community.

“Our annual pledge drive offers our listeners the opportunity to help sustain the service they depend on by donating directly to WESU,” says Benjamin Michael, general manager. “All the proceeds from the Winter Pledge Drive directly benefit WESU and help to ensure local, community-based programs and alternative news continue to have a home on the radio dial at 88.1 FM.”

In 2009 WESU will celebrate its 70th Birthday and hopes to fulfill a construction permit issued by the Federal Communications Commission that will enable the radio station to increase it’s power from 1,500 to 6,000 Watts ERP (effective radiated power). This move would effectively double the current potential listening audience of WESU to almost 1 million.

WESU is staffed by one full-time and one part-time employee and the hard work of over 100 dedicated student and community volunteers to broadcast 24 hours a day.

“It’s a real partnership and labor of love for all of our volunteers.” Michael says.

With such a diverse group of volunteer broadcasters, WESU is able to provide airtime to many communities that are least represented on the radio dial in the state.

“We have programs like The Moondog Matinee, and The Gospel Express that have been broadcasting for over 25 years!” Michael says.

In addition a variety of music programming, WESU also offers public affairs programs from Nation Public Radio, Pacifica and other independent and local alternative news consortiums.

Supporters of WESU can donate online at www.WESUFM.org or call 860-685-7700 during the drive and make a pledge. Premiums will be offered for donations of $20 and above.