Weekly Beef: The Begathon




Here’s an idea for the leftover Mike McIntyre bobblehead dolls WCPN will have at the end of its begathon: Offer them as premiums in The Plain Dealer’s upcoming campaign to save the paper from being downsized to three days a week.

It’s all hands on deck for the marketing campaign, which reportedly will be launched after the Nov. 6 election. Like everyone else in Cleveland, we’re rooting for the venerable daily; who will we have to kick around without it? But as public radio demonstrates twice a year, it’s hard to be on your knees without becoming annoying. All the goodwill built up over the rest of the year dissipates quickly with the nonstop nagging:

You know all that great programming you’ve come to depend on? Well, we’re going to interrupt it every five minutes for the next week while we guilt-trip you into writing us a check. Stop whatever you’re doing right now and act fast, before some evil Republican adds us to the Big Bird hit list.

The trick is to appeal to listeners’ high-mindedness while enticing them with lowbrow, QVC-quality junk. It’s tawdry and demeaning, but it works.

So PD staffers need to be creative. How about a tea cozy hand-knit by Regina Brett? Bud Shaw spinning the leaves in your front yard into a nice neat pile? Driving lessons from John Horton?

Imagine Mary Kay Cabot coming to your home for color commentary on the latest Browns loss. Or Kevin O’Brien dropping by to berate you for being lazy. Or Chuck Yarborough or John Petkovic bringing his band to play (a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll, respectively) at your next soiree.

Operators will be standing by.

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