Taylor Hohulin “Broke, Hungry, Anemic, and Naked”

I love our listeners here in Des Moines.

Not only are they passionate about the radio station, but they’re also passionate about making a difference in their community. Combine that with our super-talented Listener Engagement Director (and my on-air partner in crime) Jen Green, and we’ve had some incredibly successful hands and feet initiatives.

We meet every few months to plan out our upcoming promotions, initiatives, and fundraisers. After leaving one of these meetings, I heard these words come out of my mouth before really thinking them over:

“So we’ve got a fundraiser, a food drive, a blood drive, and a clothing drive. By the time we’re done with them, our listeners will be broke, hungry, anemic, and naked.”

It was a dumb, off-the-cuff joke, but it’s been on my mind lately. We ask a lot of our listeners over the course of a year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. Listener-supported radio stations need to hold fundraisers. And empowering listeners to positively impact the community is a win on so many levels.

It’s just that if all we do is ask listeners to do something, we’re only doing half the job.

I’m incredibly guilty of working hard to make sure our listeners know what we need from them, where we need it, and when we need it, but when it comes to…you know, actually thanking them when they get involved? That’s been a growth area.

I’m not saying that I want to say “thank you” the exact same number of times I say “please,” and I’m not even saying I want to ask less of our listeners. What I am saying is that I’m trying to put as much thought and strategy into making sure our listeners know they’re appreciated as I do when making sure they know they’re needed.

And if you ask me, one of the best ways to show gratitude is still what your mom taught you about sending thank you cards: Throw in a line about what you’re going to do with that gift.

Let them know how much food was collected and how many lives were saved by their blood donations. Share a comment or two from people who benefited from your listeners’ generosity.

Because at the end of the day, when you tell your listeners what happened because of their generosity, you get to communicate something nobody gets tired of hearing:

Things are better when you’re here.


Taylor Hohulin co-hosts Mornings with Taylor and Jen at Northwestern Media’s Life 107.1 in Des Moines, where he also serves as Program Director. You can contact him to chat radio or weird science fiction at [email protected]

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