Feb 5, 2010

Tampa pubcasting president gets nod for International Broadcasting Bureau post

The White House yesterday nominated Dick Lobo, president and chief executive of Tampa PBS station WEDU-Ch. 3, to head the International Broadcasting Bureau. The federal bureau runs Voice of America and two other broadcasts aimed at Cuba, Radio and TV Marti. Lobo, 73, still must be confirmed by the Senate. Lobo recently retired after seven years heading the Tampa station and 23 in commercial TV. He had worked in overseas broadcasting earlier; President Clinton appointed him head of USIA's Office of Cuba Broadcasting in 1994. Lobo's wife, Caren, supervised Florida fundraising for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election.

Text-giving for pubcasters: learn from those who've tried it

Text donations for disaster relief in Haiti topped $35 million earlier this week, and donors' sudden willingness to use mobile phones for charitable contributions makes text-giving look like a promising way for pubcasting stations to raise money.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. WXPN in Philadelphia and KQED in San Francisco began experimenting with text-giving programs last year and had modest results.

'XPN asked for text donations during its XPoNential Music Festival last July. "We didn't make a lot of money, but we learned a ton about how to make it work," said Melanie Coulson, a Development Exchange Inc. fundraising consultant who managed the project for WXPN. "I think events are a great way to do it."

KQED tried two different approaches: on-air requests for text gifts during Earth Day programming and promotions over the month of April; and, more targeted, urgent appeals during its year-end fundraising campaign in December. "The results were dramatically improved, with almost four times as much money raised," said Yoon Lee, KQED director of new media marketing, of the latter campaign.

Both Coulson and Lee will report on the projects on Monday, Feb. 8, during a webinar produced by DEI.