We recently received an email from a loyal WDAV listener and member who asked some great questions about WDAV’s budget and financial priorities. WDAV General Manager Ben Roe thought other listeners might be interested in the answers to these questions, and so we post their Q&A below!
Easy access to WDAV financial information: In 2008, WDAV began posting our audited financial statements on our website. Click here to find the statements for FY2007 and FY2008. As of this writing, our FY2009 financials are with the audit firm. We anticipate receiving the FY2009 audited financial statement shortly. We will also post that statement to the web page referenced above as soon as it’s available.
WDAV On-Air Fund Drives On The Rise? I have only been with WDAV for a year, but in checking with WDAV’s veterans (who have been with the station 10 years or more), none can remember a time when we held only one on-air campaign per year. Our “normal” fundraising efforts over the last ten years have involved two on-air campaigns annually, and there have been several times in the past when WDAV had three on-air campaigns (although the less frequent end-of-year campaigns are really more of a “half-campaign” of only 3-4 days).
Have WDAV’s costs gone up over what was raised in earlier campaigns? In FY2009, we spent a little more than $7,000 more than what we spent in FY2008 – and much more of that year’s expense was dedicated to programming and technical endeavors than in the previous year. For FY2010, we cut our budget by approximately $128,000 (from FY2009 actual) – in a clear-eyed understanding of the challenge of raising funds and garnering support in the business and philanthropic community in the current economic climate.
Here’s what our FY2010 budget looks like:
$308,376 – General & Administrative
$463,365 – Programs
$93,500 – New Media
$112,330 – Technical
$304,059 – Development & Members
$125,329 – Marketing
$1,406,959 – TOTAL
You may have been listening recently when we hit our 100% goal for the Fall 2009 On-Air Membership Campaign. We had pledges of $187,210 from 1,307 individuals who listen both regionally via 89.9 FM and online at wdav.org. As you can see, this is only a portion of what we need to raise in FY2010, but it is always encouraging to meet our goals! And just for comparison’s sake, in the Spring 2009 On-Air Membership Campaign, we raised $155,000 during the same number of days on the air.
Does the cost of certain programs such as online streaming justify having them? Absolutely! Our online stream reaches listeners in the radio-bereft “skyscraper canyons” of Uptown Charlotte, as well as listeners in Japan (and with no additional cost). At a time when fewer and fewer people are listening to music via traditional radio waves, WDAV must provide a multitude of delivery methods to stay competitive in audience development, underwriting and fundraising. You can see from the breakdown above that only $93,500 is dedicated to New Media this year (most of that expense is human resources – producers who are developing content for on-air and online distribution). To be sure, there are also some technical expenses that relate to online only – but they are nominal, compared to the cost of maintaining our much more costly radio operation.
Do contributions from Japan and other places pay for their costs? The vast majority of our current online listenership comes from right here within the Carolinas. And given the way the Internet functions, there is really no additional cost to serve listeners from other parts of the country or world. Our hope is that WDAV will continue to attract new over-the-air listeners throughout our region, but that is far better achieved via partnerships (such as teaming up with ETV Radio of South Carolina for our Spoleto Festival coverage – effectively bringing WDAV voices and talent to Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and beyond), and via internet and mobile wireless technologies. It is highly unlikely that WDAV will invest more funds in the exorbitant expense of new transmitters or towers when we can so much more cost-effectively reach listeners via these methods.
Thank you to Mr. Frank Burns of Mint Hill, NC for these great questions!