KQED is offering quite the thank-you gift to listeners: A Pledge-Free Stream. Beginning today (April 21), fans who donate at least $45 online before May 5 will receive access to a special programming stream to listen to KQED Public Radio on a computer or smartphone without interruption for the duration of the May fund drive.
"This is, we hope, only a step toward alternative funding models that generate significant donor revenue and enable uninterrupted access to great programming," Donald Derheim, station c.o.o., said in a statement. "We’re hopeful that what KQED does here in the Bay Area will spread everywhere to the benefit of public radio listeners around the world.”
KQED's innovations in fundraising — audience memberships, pledge nights, and televised auctions — date to the 1950s. The first-ever on-air public broadcasting auction, on KQED in 1955, featured civic leaders, physicist Edward Teller and stripper Tempest Storm (Current, Feb. 3, 1997).
The new Pledge-Free Stream will be a second stream of KQED Public Radio with all regular programming including live news reports (except for traffic updates). It will be hosted by a separate team of on-air announcers, and will omit all fundraising breaks.