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WQED stays hopeful as its income declines

Saturday, December 01, 2001

By Adrian McCoy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Although a slowing economy is having an impact on its income, WQED Pittsburgh painted a rosy picture at yesterday's board meeting.

Corporate giving was down slightly compared to the previous year, but government and foundation support increased. And compared to last year, there were two new categories -- income from Internet and multimedia sales.

The WQED Investment Committee report centered on the impact of a slowing economy on the station's investments, but WQED Pittsburgh president George Miles noted that diversified revenue streams have softened the impact. At the previous meeting, Miles had expressed some concern about the effects of the Sept. 11 attacks. He acknowledged there has been "some slowdown" since then but said that WQED is weathering the storm. Another silver lining was that membership is at an all-time high.

Fund raising, including direct mail and telemarketing efforts, was suspended for three weeks in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The WQED radio October pledge drive missed its $275,000 goal, raising $255,000. The current TV pledge drive ends Dec. 15.

In other business:

•Charles Gregory, president of Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh, was elected for a three-year term as member of the board.

•In programming, "Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop" aired nationally last month as a PBS pledge special and raised $3 million.

•Zulfiqar Khan, director of E-business, said the system is nearly at capacity to handle the current volume of online listeners to the radio station.

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