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Enter Stage Gabbing

Now I know why I hate PBS

By Steven Martinovich

(July 9, 2001) - For the most part, I've hated PBS for the last number of years, mostly because of their seemingly never-ending parade of funding drives. They just haven't grasped that endlessly broadcasting Yanni at the Acropolis isn't going to prize my hard-earned dollars from me although I certainly did want that Dr. Who mug with the disappearing Tardis.

Of course, Enter Stage Right recently joined the ranks of web sites like Salon asking you to part from your money. Unlike many web sites, we aren't going to segregate content from you by naming some people "Premium" subscribers. I've always believed that while the web shouldn't be free, it should at least maintain access to information to as many people as possible.

That's why I made our funding appeal so open-ended. If you donate, and some people have to our eternal gratitude, you can take away the feeling that you have helped ESR continue to provide what I believe to be consistently high-quality work from writers renowned and those lesser-known but no less important. If you haven't donated, rest assured, all of our content will always remain accessible. Feel free to thank those who have donated since they are the ones who have guaranteed so.

So you might be asking, legitimately, why ESR needs my support now? Why suddenly spring a fundraising campaign on us now?

Fair enough.

As you've probably heard me state in the past, ESR is a big drain of time and resources on a lot of people, perhaps mine the most. Along with editing and writing for ESR, I also take care of all the bills, backend software, promotion, wheeling and dealing, research, heavy lifting and coffee making. It may not sound like a lot, but believe me, it grabs up quite a few hours of my week. Outside of myself, we also have regular writers who contribute some great stuff on a heroically regular basis. It's quite amazing when you think about it. I would venture to say that of the people that comprise the immediate ESR family, most have never met each other, and yet week after week they collaborate to produce what I think is one of the best magazines available on the web.

Call it an experiment. I'd like to see if we can at least make ESR self-sustaining financially because it will greatly improve the longevity of this effort. After that, there are some services I would really like to add to the web site. Hey, while we're at it, I'd like to pass some money off to the people who contribute their time and mind power and produce the stuff that you come back week after week.

I think it's only fair.

I know what you're saying, if you guys were that good, you'd be working for newspapers or something. Well, a fair number of us actually have. Along with myself, a number are journalists and/or freelance writers who do get paid for our writing. That said, try and name the number of conservative writers in your local newspaper. You see our point, right? That's why we turned to the web, so our voices could be heard without the filter of liberalism getting in the way. You regularly read opinion pieces and news items in your local newspaper that don't smugly pander to you or insult you? Ever notice how the media only reach out to you when it's time to renew your subscription? Same here.

So can this be successful? The math is embarrassingly easy. We enjoy on average about 50 000 readers a month. If just one-half of one per cent of you cats, about 250 people, donated some middling amount to us (let's say $5), it would pay ESR's bills for the year. One-half of one per cent contributing $5 props up ESR for one year. More money means more stuff...it could even reach this effort becoming daily. Skies the limit.

So like I said, whether you donate or not is up to you and there is no reason to feel guilty if you don't. ESR will be here as long as it doesn't become too onerous. By the time you read this I will have renewed the domain for yet another year so you can take it to the bank that you'll see another 52 weeks or so of this magazine. After that?

And now back to our program.

Thanks for reading,

Steven Martinovich

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