Pledge week

The time is 8:42 here at KURK, and we’ll get right back to “Soundstreams” in just a moment, but first we want to take a moment to talk about KURK, your public radio station for the greater Downbridge-Scallion metro area.  You the people support your public radio station, and you trust it. Trust is  important. We are responsible to you, our listeners.

That’s right, Mark. Remember, KURK is where you find such great shows as “NewsVoice,” “Talking Trash” and “Captain Walcott’s Down Home Atonal Music Hour,” plus our local news program “Dateline: Homefront”. These shows bring you the best in information and culture, all guided not by commercial concerns but by the ideas and tastes of our listeners. With your pledge of $50, $100 or more, let us know what programs you like, and what you’d like to hear more of going forward.

That’s right, Nancy, and if you call with the next, uh, 16 minutes, right Nancy?

That’s right. I guess I’ll have to be the timekeeper here.

(Both laugh)

In the next 16 minutes, if you call 1-800-GO-KURK and make a pledge of at least $100, or just $10 in 12 monthly payments, you’ll receive our CDC-approved Bio-Danger Kit, which is all you’ll need to survive an out-of-control super-virus. Whenever people are falling in the gutters with blood streaming out of their eyes, you’ll be safe at home with your family, breathing filtered air and eating narcotics-infused power bars.

I’ve eaten one. Yummy!

Master class on reading a novel through binoculars: At the $60 level.

I see we’ve gotten one call. We’ve got some eager volunteers just waiting for you. And speaking of our volunteers, our thanks to the National Coffee Company, Connie’s Useful Pastries, Josiah Perlmutter’s Instant Breakfast Eggs, and The Pickled Fruits Basket, which sends the best in sour peaches, salted figs and brined bananas to needy families all over your local area. And thanks too to Cleveland Office Furniture, A&M Draperies and Bolsters, Mama’s Lighting Fixtures and the Tenafly Door Company for their generous help in getting our studios fixed up.  We trusted them, the way you trust us. Trust is generously funded by Biscuit, the on-line money extender company.

And thanks to them, we can remain ad-free, always. But radio programming isn’t cheap. We have to pay National Liberal Radio for many of your favorite shows, including “Breakfast News,” “Midday News” and “News for Driving Home in Your Single-Occupancy Vehicle.” And that money comes from you, our listeners. We need you to keep us afloat during these difficult times. Mark?

And thanks too to our generous underwriters, including Castaneda Bio-Industries, making America great again through responsible cloning techniques; Klapman, providing security solutions for a changing world; PeaceWork, offering compassionate mercenaries to nations in stress; and QinTip, the first totally soluble art technology. Thanks too to Ragtop, the world’s first all-conifer energy source; Granular Partners, specializing in wireless brain-to-brain devices; BioMediClean, protecting to you from climate-generated hysteria; and Hill, Dale, Friedman and Fong, your first call when you’ve been taken away in handcuffs.

A day shopping for fresh strawberries the old-fashioned way: at the $120 level


Mark, as I walked to work today…

Nancy, it was raining.

God knows I’m aware of that, Mark. But I like to save money wherever I can, so I can give back at least 50 per cent of my salary. Public radio has done so much good for so many people. A friend of mine with a serious Hello Kitty addiction problem listened to “On The Couch” (Saturday mornings at 2 a.m.) and was entirely cured, praise goddess. So I like to give back, and I hope our listeners will too at 1-800-GO-KURK. Give more than you can.

Nancy, I bring toilet paper from home, just to help out. We’re so poor around here, we’re lucky to get our $50 salary subsidy from Danielson Industries, putting the “you” in “unit” since 1954. And thanks too for this lovely croissant, from the guy who’s been stalking me for 18 months.

Volunteers are standing by, but let’s go to Sunny Flowers for a traffic report at 10 minutes before the hour.

Nancy, shit is out of control here.

Thanks, Sunny. We haven’t mentioned our premium gift at the $360 level. It’s a four-DVD set of the popular British comedy “Put ‘Er In There, Guv.” This hilarious romp that riveted a generation of viewers in the 1980s is now available to you at home, with special commentary from Jimmy “Bunny” Speaker, who played the rascally Squirt in this comedy about tenant farmers in 1930s Yorkshire, with English language subtitles.

And, Nancy, at the $680 level, we have an autographed copy of “Secrets of Greenwashing: Cashing in on the Clean Water Fad.” This book, which retails for $3000 (it’s printed in solid gold letters), is made entirely from vegetable-like products, guaranteed gluten free, non-GMO and organic, from PlanetLove Books. Become a billionaire and support your local public radio station.

Date (YYYYMMDD)westoakland(0001)-177
Napa Valley champagne tasting tour: At the $500 level

Only two more minutes until “Soundstreams” returns, including a report on the Nova Scotia artisan who creates saxophones out of driftwood and gull guano, plus all the day’s news. We have a goal this hour of $1000, and so far we’re just a wee bit short. The last three phone calls have been from a home security company, a drapery cleaning firm, and a man named Harry wanting a volunteer to join him in Jane Austen cosplay. So that makes us $1000 short, and we’re in danger of losing our matched grant from White & Putz, a legal entity specializing in barratry and misprision.

Remember: Without you, we would be as nothing. We would be eyeless slugs creeping along the floor of the sea. Only you can save us from a life of misery and abandonment. So please call 1-800-GO-KURK and help us help you. “Soundstreams” is presented by a generous grant from Badboyz, providing clothes for the active intellectual, and from Gasper, the app that lets you connect with other smokers in your area.

The time is 9:00. The time is brought to you by Clocks Unlimited. Did you know the correct time can change the world?


On another note entirely: Jon Carroll Prose and associated entities is going to New York for 10 days, so next week will be barren at this fine blog. You can go back and catch up on posts you missed, or you could turn off the computer and revel in the beauty of the world. Entirely up to you.

See you in June.



Photography by Tracy Johnston

Marketing and useful stuff by Michelle Mizera

43 thoughts on “Pledge week

  1. Perfect, I’m so glad you wrote this. I think of NPR as National Pablum radio for the most part. Not all of it, but far too much sounds scripted with fake laughs and buddy buddy warm feelings. Yuk. Better to hear music.


    1. I never support KQED because I have a fine radio station here in Sonoma County. KRCB. Not to mention, one of my daughters is a founder of tiny KWTF (I have no idea how the FCC allowed that one). Easier to listen online unless you happen to be in certain areas near Sebastopol.

      But, old fogey that i am, I listen to KQED every Saturday at 10 to laugh again at the Car Talk reruns. So heard all the pledge breaks then. Jon, you not only turned me on to The WELL but also to Car Talk. And that is followed by “Wait Wait” which I didn’t need a columnist to tell me about. A year of two ago, my youngest daughter and I and her (then) boyfriend went to Chicago, and attending a “Wait Wait” taping was a major reason for the trip. Well that, and seeing the dinosaurs and re-visiting the Art Institute.

      I do hope your trip to NYC will be charming for you, and that it produces a good blog entry, too. I trust you will eat very well while there — I always do.


  2. Gads! Haven’t laughed so hard in a long, long time. Sunny Flowers’ traffic report damn near herniated me. So glad the spirit of Evelyn Waugh’s still with us.

    Enjoy your escape to the Big Apple. As Bob Dylan said in his 1965 masterpiece, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “I’m going back to New York City I do believe I’ve had enough.”


  3. This break we are offering a 10-to-1 matching grant so we can burn through the rich, anonymous donors’ money faster.

    Won’t you take this time to become a “member” with no voice since we voted listeners out of the equation years ago?

    … or perhaps you can find a better alternative to listen to which purports to keep you informed…

    Mr Limbaugh?

    Your friends at KPO?

    Or the newly reformatted KSPO?

    Call now and we’ll include some other stuff!
    —– – – – –
    Enjoy your time in New York.

    I hear there is some good stuff there too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So was a wee portion of today’s prose perhaps inspired by The Band’s “W.S. Walcott Medicine Show?”


  5. OK, can I just give a shout-out to KALW for its non-intrusive pledge drive (which coincided with KQED’s Nothing But Intrusive drive, and KPFA’s pathetic drive, and KPOO’s seemingly never-ending drive)? Yet for some reason I still remember OXford7-2288, which suggests that I listened to WBAI’s pledge drives as if they were actual programming. Also: excellent links; thanks. Bon voyage.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your level of enthusiasm for this piece seems to rise by the paragraph. Almost made me want to donate by the end of the column.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jon, I share your deep distress every time Pledge Crap rolls around, but I rather suffer through the abbreviated (if emotionally draining/drained) drive from KALW, which actually needs money to survive, than from bloated KQED, where – the last time I looked – executive salaries were sky-high.

    There is a difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Here’s to the eyeless slugs searching the ocean floor and Gasper, the app providing community for smokers everywhere. We musn’t forget the “Association of Deejays SERIOUSLY in Love With the Sound of their own Voices.” Public Radio, able to provide equal portions of love and hate to all within earshot. Ha!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I did the same thing with your column that I do during pledge week. I skipped most of it. During pledge drives, which drive me crazy, I just turn my radio off and put in a great music CD. I’m going to an HOA meeting, which is just about as much fun. And have you noticed that NPR and KPFA have synchronized their pledge periods? Total bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “NPR and KPFA have synchronized their pledge periods”

      Did you mean KQED? NPR doesn’t do pledges; they bill the local stations, and that’s what the locals have to raise money for.


  10. Lately I’ve been dividing my classical music internet radio time between Bartok Radio out of Budapest and KUSC out of Los Angeles, but after a recent KUSC Pledge Week I’m ready to do something really horrible to people who speak horrible platitudes on the radio while plugging “non-commercial” sponsors, a syndrome you nail perfectly. There may be many things wrong with Hungary, but Budapest Radio has neither commercials nor Pledge Week. Just FYI.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Still laughing so hard my muscles hurt. Always a good thing. Thanks for that and have a good time.


  12. Another fan of KALW’s only-in-the-short-breaks pledges. They become my station as soon as KQED starts to pledge.


  13. I hate pledge weeks as much as anyone, but the target is just too easy. You’re better than this. Hopefully New York will refresh you.


  14. The great William Poundstone wrote a book that explains this called the Prisoner’s Dilemma about 25 years ago. No hyperlink, but it’s available on Amazon still. (The actual game that explains this in game theory is the Dollar Auction, not the prisoner’s dilemma, nonetheless. The dollar auction explains any situation where the justification for sticking it out is the loss of investment if you quit such as pledge breaks, the Vietnam War…..) Just cut your losses and buy a cd or two. Plus if you get stranded between SF and NYC, you can signal to air rescuers using your cd as a mirror (presuming it’s daytime and the sun is out, of course.) Try to signal to a helicopter using public radio.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I am distracted from work because laughing too hard. Splendid and thank you! This praise brought to you by DementoShed, where perplexing assignments are repurposed into expense account reimbursements.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I keep wondering when someone will notice that emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes while marching to the tune of those “matching-pledge” grants. Yes, the station will “have to offer the money back” to the generous sponsor (who receives publicity/advertising plus a nice tax deduction for their generosity) if too few listeners respond in time, but that’s mere semantic sleight of hand. It’s a safe bet that the “offer” to return those funds is never accepted.

    But you can’t fight City Hall, push the river, or ignore a KQED pledge drive, so I send in my fifty bucks a couple of weeks early to earn the “pledge-free stream” over the internet. Yes, it’s a hostage situation, but I’ve spent much too much of my life listening to the plaintive wheedling of Greg Sherwood (a professional wheedler, it seems, as he performs the same incredibly irritating task on-screen for the PBS outlet in LA), so I run up the white flag and hand over my money.

    To paraphrase (or bastardize…) Oliver Wendell Holmes — it’s the price we pay for civilization…

    Have a great trip to the Big Apple!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Remember Jon Carroll from the Chron? Here he is from his blog…it has a certain wonderful frisson, je cross.



  18. Brined bananas! Salted figs! I would actually eat these things. And now I’m wondering what some of my creative preserving friends would do with unripe peaches.

    I wish we had the option to have pledge-free stream for donors.

    That said – years ago my local station started suggesting folks set up monthly pledges, making it less pledge-like and more Netflix-like. And recently they stated their preference for checking accounts instead of credit cards which have the annoying habit of expiring every few years. So – KOPB now has a solid base automatic donors, and our pledge drives have shortened noticeably as a result.

    Shh…don’t tell NPR. Don’t want them to raise our rates 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear your words about your trip. I always enjoy your take on travel.


  19. And a pledge drive is better than advertising how? And then there are corporate thanks that are practically ads anyway. I have to admit that this is why I stopped listening to Public Radio a long time ago.

    Plus, eventually they’re just going to hold a gun to a puppy’s head and threaten to shoot until people pay up.


  20. So many delightful cheap shots, and so many more exquisitely hand-crafted & expensive ones. Pick up those phones and call goddammit!

    Liked by 1 person

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