U.S./world – PBS falloff – Public radio blooms

Total contributions are up at the 347 Public Broadcasting System stations in the U.S., but the number of donors has declined, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports in its May 17 issue.

Contributions grew 5 percent to nearly $360 million from 1993 to 1999, when the average gift totaled just over $77, the Chronicle said, while the system’s record-high five million contributors in 1993 fell 7.9 percent by 1999.

Industry analysts attribute the falloff partly to viewers switching to cable TV and largely to public TV’s use of on-air appeals and expensive thank-you gifts to attract bigger one-time gifts, the newspaper said.

At the same time, total contributors to public radio stations nearly doubled to 2.3 million from 1989 to 1999, largely because of less competition from commercial stations than their TV counterparts, the Chronicle said.

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