Station Stories

Brews and Tattoos: How Public Radio Stations Get Creative With Pledge Drive Premiums

Ok, so pledge drive season might not be your most favorite time of the year. But if you are like many of us, it's the thank you gift that really gets you opening your wallet (oh, and all that great programming).

From donations befitting local organizations, to tiny underpants (not that kind), NPR Member Stations are coming up with distinctive and regionally-inspired ways to thank the listeners and fans who support them. Check out the slideshow below to see the pledge gifts, and in some cases gaffs, public radio stations use to share their appreciation.

  • Public Radio Tattoos: Public radio shows and stations including NPR, WNYC, WHYY and This American Life collaborated to design a tattoos premium for Member Stations to offer as thank you gifts this spring. Keep an eye out for their mid-April release and you, too, can rock some hardcore Morning Edition or All Things Considered ink.
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    Public Radio Tattoos: Public radio shows and stations including NPR, WNYC, WHYY and This American Life collaborated to design a tattoos premium for Member Stations to offer as thank you gifts this spring. Keep an eye out for their mid-April release and you, too, can rock some hardcore Morning Edition or All Things Considered ink.

    Alex McWatt/This American Life
  • Public Radio Tattoos: Capital Public Radio is one of the stations that plans to get in on this temporary tattoo action. From April 19-25, listeners who contribute will get a full set of these fun vintage tattoos. See all the designs here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/tattoos
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    Public Radio Tattoos: Capital Public Radio is one of the stations that plans to get in on this temporary tattoo action. From April 19-25, listeners who contribute will get a full set of these fun vintage tattoos. See all the designs here: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/tattoos

    Andy Perez
  • KMUW Zombie Protection Helmet: Last year, Wichita did more than thank their radio supporters for pledging; they also helped protect listeners from harm during a zombie apocalypse, of course. The station offered protective helmets to those who contributed at the "Zombie Apocalypse Premium Level." They even brought in musician Jonathan Coulton to help explain: http://bit.ly/13UR0kl
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    KMUW Zombie Protection Helmet: Last year, Wichita did more than thank their radio supporters for pledging; they also helped protect listeners from harm during a zombie apocalypse, of course. The station offered protective helmets to those who contributed at the "Zombie Apocalypse Premium Level." They even brought in musician Jonathan Coulton to help explain: http://bit.ly/13UR0kl
    Sarah Jane Crespo/KMUW
  • WUNC 70's Beer: North Carolina Public Radio brewed their thanks in the late 70's with WUNC Brew. Made by a former program director at the station, WUNC Brew promises to be "fun-raising" at "91.5% pure" (the station frequency).
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    WUNC 70's Beer: North Carolina Public Radio brewed their thanks in the late 70's with WUNC Brew. Made by a former program director at the station, WUNC Brew promises to be "fun-raising" at "91.5% pure" (the station frequency).
    Keith Weston/WUNC
  • WWNO "Makin' Groceries" Tote Bag: In 2007, Member Station WWNO helped listeners show off their city pride by placing the popular New Orleans saying, "Makin' Groceries," on a tote bag. The NOLA jargon for food shopping was displayed with a literal interpretation of the phrase, created by local design artist, Blake Haney.
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    WWNO "Makin' Groceries" Tote Bag: In 2007, Member Station WWNO helped listeners show off their city pride by placing the popular New Orleans saying, "Makin' Groceries," on a tote bag. The NOLA jargon for food shopping was displayed with a literal interpretation of the phrase, created by local design artist, Blake Haney.
    Jeffrey Sklaver
  • KEXP Belt Buckle: Seattle's KEXP sends out belt buckles so supporting members can don their favorite radio station in style. The station just wrapped up their spring pledge drive and these buckles helped make it a major success.
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    KEXP Belt Buckle: Seattle's KEXP sends out belt buckles so supporting members can don their favorite radio station in style. The station just wrapped up their spring pledge drive and these buckles helped make it a major success.
    Janice Headley/KEXP
  • KRCC Squirrel Underpants: During their spring 2009 pledge drive, Colorado's KRCC thanked supporters with itty bitty squirrel underwear for "boys." Listeners went nuts for these tiny tighty-whities. They were so popular, in fact, that the girls line was made available in later drives.
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    KRCC Squirrel Underpants: During their spring 2009 pledge drive, Colorado's KRCC thanked supporters with itty bitty squirrel underwear for "boys." Listeners went nuts for these tiny tighty-whities. They were so popular, in fact, that the girls line was made available in later drives.
    Katie Burk/NPR
  • WUWF, "Your World on a Short Leash": From 2006-07 Florida's WUWF - or "woof" - showed that they appreciate more than just their human listeners when they offered a treat for their four-legged friends. The WUWF-branded bowl and leash reads, "Your World on a Short Leash."
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    WUWF, "Your World on a Short Leash": From 2006-07 Florida's WUWF - or "woof" - showed that they appreciate more than just their human listeners when they offered a treat for their four-legged friends. The WUWF-branded bowl and leash reads, "Your World on a Short Leash."

    Pat Crawford/WUWF
  • WPR "Food for 40": Wisconsin Public Radio has shown thanks by paying it forward since 2010. Listeners can request that instead of a gift, WPR gives a Wisconsin food bank $8, which covers approximately 40 meals. Through their donations, WPR listeners have provided approximately 246,080 meals to those in need.
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    WPR "Food for 40": Wisconsin Public Radio has shown thanks by paying it forward since 2010. Listeners can request that instead of a gift, WPR gives a Wisconsin food bank $8, which covers approximately 40 meals. Through their donations, WPR listeners have provided approximately 246,080 meals to those in need.
    WPR

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No matter the gift, contributing to a local station makes a stronger NPR possible. And now that you've seen some of our favorite thank yous, are there any quirky premiums you've received after donating to your Member Station? We'd love to see what else is out there! Email us at thisisnpr@npr.org.

Lindsay Kearns is the Communications Intern with NPR Marketing, Branding, and Communications Divison.

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