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December 1999 Pledge Drive Most Successful Ever
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A record $37,597,768 pledged to PBS member stations by "Viewers Like You"

ALEXANDRIA, VA - February 2, 2000 - The final month of 1999 not only marked the end of the millennium, but it also boasted the most successful December pledge drive in PBS history, according to Alan Foster, PBS vice president of fundraising and syndicated programming. A total of $37,597,768 was pledged to local PBS stations, a nearly 20 percent increase over last December's campaign.

"It was a very happy holiday season for member stations around the country," commented Mr. Foster. "December pledge offerings appealed to our long-time supporters and also brought new members into the PBS family. The programs focused on what public television does uniquely, in addition to what we do best, and viewers really responded to that."

A program that celebrated the legacy of public broadcasting, and proved to be very popular with viewers, was An American Feast. This live, progressive banquet hosted by Julia Child and Burt Wolf was a tribute to the cooking program, a genre invented by public television. Another tremendous success was the Doo Wop 50, which commemorated five decades of vocal group harmony with once-in-a-lifetime performances by more than 20 of the original groups and performers. Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For, An "American Masters" Special; Great Performances: "Andrea Bocelli: Sacred Arias"; and Great Performances: "My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies," were also among the most popular pledge programs.

Through on-air fundraising drives, which also take place in August and March, individuals and families all over America become members of their local PBS stations, constituting public television's single largest source of revenue. In fiscal year 1999, more than $125 million were raised through on-air pledges.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Va., is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 346 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week. More information about PBS is available at


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Jan McNamara
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