88.1 the Park to hold ‘Thanks for Giving Pledge Drive’ for station upgrades

Madelyn Bajorek, Salem junior, and Lillian Menken, Salem senior, in 88.1 the Park’s main studio at Salem High School as they talk over the airwaves during November 2020’s Pledge Drive.

88.1 the Park, the student-run radio station at Salem High School, will participate in its annual “Thanks for Giving Pledge Drive” during the first week of November. Donations from the fundraiser will be used for necessary equipment and updates to the station. 

Born on the dream to promote local radio and invest in the lives of students, 88.1 the Park first aired on Feb 14, 1972. Nearly 50 years later, 88.1 the Park is a thriving radio station, providing family-friendly music, school sports broadcasts, music reviews and daily local news stories. 

Bill Keith has been station manager of 88.1 the Park since October 1991. While Keith mentioned that the school district is generous, “We need significantly more to operate. We fundraise probably in a typical year another $40,000 outside of what the school district gives.” Enter: 88.1 the Park’s “Thanks for Giving Pledge Drive.” 

As the second largest fundraiser of the year, 88.1 the Park’s “Thanks for Giving Pledge Drive” provides the opportunity for the community to give back to the station that does so much for them, Keith said. From November 1 to November 6, students will be on air reminding listeners about the importance of the station and asking community members to give. There will also be several special guests over the airwaves throughout the week. 

This year the goal is to raise $15,000 for the station, about $2,000 more than last year’s proceeds.

“It’s always amazing to see the phones light up and the response from the community,” Keith said of the pledge drive’s past. 

Even last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the station received a record amount of donations. “When you think about the fact that it was in the middle of a pandemic, [it’s] an amazing testament to the generosity of people,” Keith said. 

To encourage donations, several incentives will be provided for patrons. These incentives include stickers, masks and commemorative 50th anniversary T-shirts and sweatshirts. 

Madelyn Bajorek, a Plymouth junior and the promotions director for the station, organizes a variety of promotional events to advertise 88.1 the Park to the community.  

“I’m really looking forward to working with other staff members during the pledge drive,” Bajorek said. “It’s really a great time.” 

Plymouth senior Emma Johnston also talked about the significance of the pledge drive. As programs director, Johnston oversees all on-air production, which ranges from music to broadcasted sports. 

When patrons donate to the pledge drive, they’re not only giving back to the radio station, but also to the numerous students on staff. Both Bajorek and Johnston said that 88.1 the Park has given them valuable experiences and skills they’ll use for a lifetime. 

“I learned so much from the station, and none of that is possible without your [donators’] support,” said Bajorek, a staff member of 88.1 the Park since October 2020.  

“I’m a direct beneficiary of the radio,” Johnston said, having been a part of 88.1 the Park since her freshman year. “There’s students whose lives have changed because of the donations that you’ve made that’s kept the station going.” 

Keith said, “We are so fortunate and blessed to be in a community like Canton and Plymouth… We are really thankful for the support of our listeners and the community.”