KTWU Pledge Drive

Brandon Bills

KTWU’s latest pledge drive is in full swing.

Topeka’s PBS station, along with others across the nation, kicked off the pledge drive Feb. 27, and it will run through March 15.

Because of the current economic woes, public television viewers may be hesitant about supporting their local station.

“Nationwide, it’s tougher to raise a dollar,” said Cindy Barry, director of development for KTWU. “We anticipated that.”

As of March 4, PBS stations’ pledges from the current drive are down by 33 percent from last year, however, KTWU’s is only down by 20 percent.

“It could be worse, but it could also be a lot better,” said Barry.

In addition to the weak economy, fewer people may be watching KTWU because of the digital transition, he said.

Two weeks after KTWU ceased its analog signal, along with most Topeka broadcasters, the station is still being contacted by people who need help making the transition.

“We’re taking at least 10 phone calls a day,” said Barry.

Programs that KTWU will be airing during the pledge drive include “Wood, Brick and Stone,” the first in an on-going series produced by KTWU that explores Kansas architecture. This first installment, premiering Monday at 7 p.m., will feature the Topeka State Hospital Administration building, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Topeka and a “Lustron” house, a post WWII pre-fab home made of steel and enameled steel panels.

The premiere of “Chris Botti: Live In Boston” will be at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Trumpeter Chris Botti will perform with his band, which will perform at the Symohint Hall in Boston with the Boston Pops. Featured guest artists will include Sting, Lucia Micarelli, John Mayer, Josh Groban and Yo-Yo Ma.

Promoting high-quality programming is the best way to combat the increased challenges because of the economic market, said Kevin Goodman, director of marketing and promotions.

He said quality programming spurs word-of-mouth advertising, which is better than any advertising the station can buy.

“The viewers are the best advertisers we have,” said Goodman.

KTWU usually holds three pledge drives a year, in March, September and December, but if the station experiences a shortfall, Goodman said a fourth drive in June may be necessary.

“Unfortunately, it’s part of the business plan,” said Goodman.

KTWU is always looking for people interested in volunteering for the pledge drive. If you are interested, contact volunteer coordinator Kathy Woods at the station, 670-1111.