PAYING OPB's POSTAGE

January 2018

I paid our annual dues to Oregon Public Broadcasting today. I almost didn't. We've been supporting one or another National Public Radio affiliate for over 50 years, so it wasn't a question of not wanting to stay current with them. Candidly, I thought I must have paid, already.

   Seldom does a week go by that we don't get at least one money plea in the mail from OPB. I don't think they've quite caught up with Comcast or AARP for generating junk mail , but they must be getting close. After awhile, I just toss the letters in the recycling bin without even opening them. Last month, I decided to keep track of how many - pretty much identical - pieces of OPB mail we were getting. From some time in November until Christmas, we received seven separate pleas for money. Really? I'm beginning to get the feeling that the only reason they need our membership dues is to pay for the mail they send us.

   I've never understood OPB's fund-raising. I know that bulk mailings are relatively inexpensive, but they still cost a lot, both in money and in administrative time. In addition to the junk mail, we are subjected to several weeks of on-air solicitation each year, the regular programming on both radio and television being constantly interrupted by repetitive, inane prattle about how much they need us to send them more money. (They would make the old-time television evangelists jealous.) Actually, we're not "subjected" to their stupid radio-thons and telethons, because we usually just turn OPB off during those time periods. It makes me wonder if other listeners are as turned off as we are by the constant dunning for our cash.

   OPB has a pretty good line-up of both television and radio programs.  However, during the ten-plus years we supported New Hampshire Public Radio and Maine Public Radio, their programming was just as good. (NHPR was even better, I think.) Neither sent us more than one mail dues  "reminder" each year. Neither felt the need to boor us silly with their on-air fund raising. Even so, they seemed to have plenty of money to pay for their really high quality programming. I wonder how that works.

   I'll continue to pay my dues to OPB,  and maybe occasionally put in a little extra. But their mail still goes directly to the recycling bin. I'm not going to pay their postage.

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Postscript: Within days of paying my dues, I got a nice thank-you letter from OPB. Enclosed with it was an envelope so I could send an additional donation. Sure, I will!


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© Sanford Wilbur 2018