GrassRoots regroups after slow fund-raiser |

GrassRoots regroups after slow fund-raiser

GrassRoots television managed to raise a “disappointing” figure of $14,500 in its annual fund-raiser, far short of its goal of $50,000.

The local public television station, founded in 1971, will now try to adjust how it goes about financing the studio.

The goal of $50,000 was set by GrassRoots in order to cover new capital expenditures along with standard operating expenses. Last year the studio was forced to purchase a new master control panel, an integral instrument for broadcasting.

The $50,000 figure was an amount the studio had no trouble matching in previous years, even as far back as 1980.

“I’m going through the budget right now, and I’m cutting wherever I can,” Executive Director John Masters said. “I don’t think we’ll have to lay anyone off, but we certainly aren’t in great financial shape after this fund-raiser.”

From Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, GrassRoots ran a telethon fund-raiser with nightly programs centered around discussion panels. Discussion groups comprised of prominent community planners and businessmen discussed a range of questions from “What makes a good citizen?” to “Why are we here?”

Masters said the weeklong programming received strong support and positive feedback from the public, but still failed to illicit enough donations.

“If we could pay the bills with ‘atta boys!’ we’d be millionaires,” he said.

GrassRoots now will turn its attention to other means of fund-raising, focusing on recruiting local residents and businesses to underwrite individual programs. The station hopes this will encourage greater support, expecting people to be more willing to finance individual programming than to give general donations to the station.

GrassRoots will be broadcasting four new shows this winter, including a local weekend morning show, a society talk show, a show focused on activities for Aspen’s active population, and a local sports talk show. Masters hopes these shows will help inaugurate a new trend of locally financed television.

“I think the best thing for us to do now is to focus on helping the community create programming,” he said. “Hopefully, new individual programs will attract donors and generate revenue for the station.”

[Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is]

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