The KCRW semi-annual pledge drive is once again underway. I usually donate money to the station during its August drive, and so I'll be glued to the station all weekend, waiting for the right moment to phone in my donation.
As I've written in the past, maximizing your pledge premiums from KCRW is an artform. Every year, I manage to not only score a meal for my effort, but I also land a year-long subscription to Newsweek.
Here's what I wrote in 2006:
Under KCRW's new computerized pledge system, phone line volunteers can't offer you a premium unless it has been mentioned on air -- and you may be waiting a while for the DJs to mention a $50 premium. What's more, the free "bonus premiums" -- think subscriptions to Newsweek or Los Angeles magazine, or gift certificates to places like Baja Fresh -- only pop up every once in a while.
It's even more rare for both opportunities to pop up at the same time. I spent a good deal of the weekend phoning the KCRW volunteers and asking them (a) If a free bonus premium was available at the moment and (b) if any $50 premiums were available beyond the standard single CD.
I came close several times: Saturday afternoon, KCRW was offering a $50 gift certificate for Jody Maroni sausage (for a $50 pledge! not bad), but the only bonus premium was a year's subscription to "Wine Spectator" magazine. Sunday morning, the station was offering a $50 gift certificate to Storyopolis children's book store -- but no bonus premium.
Finally, at 4:55 -- right at the end of "The A-Track" -- I hit gold. Not only was KCRW offering a year's subscription to Newsweek as a bonus premium (which I have now scored for the past three years), but for $50, I landed dinner for two at California Canteen.
In recent years, I've given in and moved up to a $75 pledge -- the $50 level just doesn't offer much of anything, save a single CD or t-shirt, anymore.