If you’ve been listening over the last week, you’ve heard an addition to our station identification. “Broadcasting from the Madge Rothschild Studios, this is 89.1 WBOI . . . “. Tagging our studios in this way is a thank you for a remarkable gift made to us by the Madge Rothschild Foundation, a commitment of $300,000 over the next three years to support our operations. This is a very good thing.
Conversations with the Foundation started months ago and the gift is such an encouragement to us. We didn’t pull any punches when we talked about what we needed. Cash. To pay bills that had accumulated over a couple years. To help us through while we try to sell 94.1 (as Julia would say, that’s another folktale), and as we try to keep this awesome, hard working staff paid. I love it when an organization can communicate with a potential funder in that way. Openly. Honestly. With enthusiasm and vision, but without looking through rose colored glasses and asking them to look through them, too. The trustees of the Foundation didn’t ask us to start a new program, or add staff, or change our focus. They asked us to do what we do to the very best of our ability, to manage wisely, to be courageous, and to give a shout out to Madge Rothschild, herself.
I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Madge, but she loved public radio. She kept it playing in her home 24/7 (oh, all our listeners should do that and report it in the Arbitron diaries!) and she loved the people here, too. She and Leah Tourkow, who hosts Jazz Classics on Wednesday night, were great friends and Madge would call Leah at the station, worried about her late nights in the studio alone. Madge Rothschild had history with public radio and that’s why this gift is just soul-lifting.
But a gift like this, even of this magnitude, doesn’t mean there aren’t still great needs. Every member, every corporate underwriter, every listener who thinks they might become a member is just so incredibly important. This gift is, in many ways, helping us fill a gap and it’s going to take all of us working together to get to completely bridge the need.
Madge Rothschild, through her legacy, has given us something wonderful to build on. It’s up to the rest of us now.