Over the past 15 years, Capitol Broadcasting and WRAL-TV have established a tradition of supporting public television. On Monday, March 6, 2017, CBC volunteers kept that tradition going while helping UNC-TV with the first night of its Spring Fundraiser, a revamp and refocus from the previous UNC-TV FESTIVAL.
CBC’ers helped debut the brand new set, tried out new pledge-taking software, and rotated through new “workshop-like” stations.
A Focus on Funding Philanthropy
UNC-TV must raise 57% of their operating expenses each year.
“This isn’t the icing on the cake,” said UNC-TV Senior Director of Strategic Alliances Susan Scott of the annual fundraiser, “it’s sustainability for us.”
CBC has helped raise $480,000 for UNC-TV through an annual donation and volunteer night during the spring fundraising campaign over the past decade and a half.
The new fundraising focus beginning in 2017 features a changing mindset with an emphasis on philanthropy.
“We will focus more on how the viewers’ donations impact our programming options and strategies as well as our local communities,” said Scott. “You will notice more emphasis on the good UNC-TV does across the state due to the generosity of our donors, an appeal to our shared values.”
The changes not only apply to what the viewers see but to what volunteers experience.
“We want to work towards better valuing your investment to be here,” Scott told the CBC’ers. “We want to make the evenings interesting for you, too.”
Staffers like WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Cullen Browder embraced the new modifications to the event.
“It’s good to change things up sometimes,” he said. “We got to talk more personally about UNC-TV, instead of just pitching pledge gifts.”
Browder and several other WRAL personalities pitched on-air during the evening, which focused on a broadcast of “Great Scenic Railway Journeys.”
“It’s a great way to give back to the community, as well as re-connect and bond with CBC/WRAL staff from other divisions,” said ATC PR/Events Manager Valerie Ward about why she volunteers each eyar. “It’s a real CBC/WRAL team effort and we go all out to make it fun for us, our hosts and the UNC-TV members we speak with. Additionally, the UNC-TV family is gracious with their hospitality and truly appreciate the CBC/WRAL support.”
“It’s always fun,” said Browder. “There’s a great sense of camaraderie with CBC and UNC-TV.”
CBC’ers also volunteer because they believe in the mission of UNC-TV.
“They have a shared commitment to service and an appreciation for our state’s culture and history,” said Browder.
“I think the diversity of programming from travel, to nature, to beloved children’s programs really keeps me coming back,” said Ward. “UNC-TV also provides a statewide and world perspective on news and is always there to assist the community with outreach to groups such as teachers and veterans.”
WRAL-TV Creative Services Producer Glenn Dion agreed.
“I love the diversity in programming offered by UNC-TV; local food and travel, kids programs, documentaries like Hamilton, and dramas like Sherlock,” he said.
“I always learn something when I watch,” said WRAL-TV Account Executive Dante Genua.
WRAL-TV Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel gave public television partial credit for his career choice.
While on air with UNC-TV Host Heather Burgiss, he told viewers, “One of the reasons I’m a meteorologist is because of a show I stumbled upon on Public TV when I was in 7th grade, so I’ve always had a fondness for the kind of programming that’s there.”
Fishel also referred to the fact that WRAL-TV and UNC-TV are not rivals; both stations are important to the Triangle and the state.
“I think there are things that Public TV can do that complement commercial television,” Fishel told Burgiss. “There are certain things that we simply can’t do as well as you do, so it makes sense to sort of supplement and complement each other in what we do.”
Expanding the Evening
One of the new facets in the UNC-TV Spring Fundraiser ended up being Ward’s favorite part of the night.
“Loved the Lightboard demo,” she said. “It was a little intimating at first. It’s amazing that UNC-TV was able to procure such a cutting edge resource to be used in our community.”
CBC volunteers were given a demonstration of the Lightboard and then got a chance to create testimonials and “Why I Love UNC-TV” on air spots. Ward and Genua even got pulled up to chat with WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Brian Shrader as he made an on-air pitch.
Another new addition in the fundraising campaign overall was the #SocialCorner. CBC volunteers got a chance to snap selfies and photos with public television favorites like Cookie Monster and Curious George, as well as pose with photo booth props in a replica of the Tardis from Doctor Who. Staffers then were encouraged to post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to spread the word about UNC-TV and the Spring Fundraiser.