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To read about Alan Chartock's new 'First Amendment Fund'
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We Have Built Something Extraordinary by Alan Chartock

To all of you who participated in the Great Winter Fund Drive, thank you! It was, as most of you know, a record breaker -- the fastest in our experience. The comments and the suggestions that so many of you made showed how much you love the station. So many of you complimented this station on our courage and on having all sides on our air. Many of you thanked us for extending our reach so that you could get in on the WAMC experience. From a personal perspective, I was extremely gratified by some of the very nice things you had to say about this 63 year old's contribution. It really is wonderful to know that you're out there.> There were many highlights in the four days and one morning of fund raising. As always, Kafka played an important part. It really is something that hundreds of thousands of listeners can hear our programming but that it takes four, five or six days to get the donations that will keep this fragile enterprise going. In this country we operate on a fee for service model. If you buy the Times in the morning, you hand the person who sells you the paper some money. The WAMCmodel is very different. The staff and board at WAMC do our very best, but then we come to you and say, "We can't do it without you."

 You have to decide whether or not you can help. For some folks that is easier than for others. We have always made it clear that any amount of money makes someone a member. I believe that we were among the first public broadcasters in the country to do that.

I can't tell you how many times we've received a pledge or a check in the mail that says something like, "You took my dollar when I had nothing so now I'm evening things out." Others say, "You were there for me and now I'll be here to help someone else." Several times those remarks have been accompanied by checks for five hundred or a thousand dollars. Government can never be counted on. Sooner or later, they will punish. As I write this Governor Pataki has reduced the state's contribution to public broadcasting by 24%.

Recently, some foolish man wrote something suggesting that if we stopped buying radio stations, we could use that money for programming at WAMC. I want each and every person who is in the WAMC family to think about that. You wouldn't be hearing the radio station in Middletown or Kingston, Canajoharie, Ticonderoga, Troy, Newburgh or even in major parts of Albany (WAMC-AM) if we hadn't extended our reach to you. The writer also suggests that we have a skeletal news staff. Of course, he's wrong again, big time. We have one of the largest news staffs in the radio business and by extending our reach, we have more people who are able to share in paying for what we do. Hey, the one thing I've learned the hard way is that anyone or any group who ever achieves something spectacular will always be attacked by someone with an edge of some kind. Frankly, sometimes it's just plain old envy. There are always those who resent success. Ah, well, enough of that.

The most important thing to remember is that by standing together, no matter what political ideology we have, we have built something that is truly extraordinary and stands out. We have all done that together. I just know that we have built a community that is the envy of many. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thanks you for all you have done to make this a reality and to keep this fragile experiment together. I have no doubt that we will all face trials together. That is why we have established the First Amendment Fund that has already raised nearly $200,000.Sooner or later, if we remain an honest broker we will be tested by those who need to see us fail. I hope I can count on everyone to do something for the First Amendment Fund. Just send a check of any amount earmarked for the First Amendment Fund to WAMC at 318 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12206.

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(ALBANY, February 4) - WAMC/Northeast Public Radio finished its winter fund drive on the morning of Friday, February 4, having raised a total of $608,687 from 6,207 callers. The goal was $600,000. WAMC gained over 977 new members during the drive.

"The fact that it was a record breaking fund drive in a time of economic scarcity indicates just how much concern and appreciation people have for WAMC," said Alan Chartock, WAMC's Executive Director.

The on-air fund drive began early on Monday, January 31, 2005 and ended in just over 4 days at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 4.

"It was great to read the names and communities where all those thousands of people came from," added Chartock, "The one thing that was consistent was the determination to keep WAMC alive and so they have. We are deeply grateful."

In addition to all those who called in pledges of support, the on-air drive brought together hundreds of wonderful volunteers from all over the WAMC listening area who contributed their time at the station's Albany studios, and hundreds of regional businesses and organizations that donated items, services and food to the drive. The WAMC's record breaking fall fund drive could not have been possible without the combined efforts of all the contributing sponsors and supporters. 

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WAMC Newsroom Based Programs:
Midday Magazine
Vox Pop
The Legislative Gazette
The Media Project
The Capitol Connection
Northeast Report

Other Resources:
WAMC Commentators
Alan Chartock

WAMC's Linda Norris Auditorium - schedule, directions, reservation info