Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, October 14, 2011 Page: 28 of 48
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Rawlins Gilliland's pledge to KERA listeners? Less boring, more fabulous
ARNOLD WAYNE JONES I Life+Style Editor
Although Rawlins Gilliland would
never describe himself as a mad prophet
of the airwaves, he does have at least one
thing in common with Howard Beale
from Network: He's mad as hell, and he's
not gonna take it anymore.
As a long-time contributor — and, of
course, devoted listener — to KERA 90.1
EM, the local NPR affiliate, Gilliland is all-
too-familiar with the infamous pledge
drives that have become long, intrusive
and tedious. He understands why people
tend to tune Cut during the 240 days of
fundraising each year. (Actual figure may
be less; it just feels that way.)
'Most people Would rather have their
teeth cleaned by a bipolar dentist who
reeked of boxed chardonnay" than en-
dure another pledge drive, he says. So, as
the fall campaign loomed — it's sched-
uled to last up to 14 days, starting Oct. 14
— Gilliland decided to take action. While
he did not want to insult his colleagues
for their efforts, he nevertheless told
KERAs management they needed to make
the pledge drive better. Lots better. And he
wasn't shy about saying he was the man
who could do it.
He has facts on his side. Gilliland's
droll commentaries, often with a sassy
gay twist, have engaged listeners for
years. He has volunteered to host count-
less hours on the pledge drive, and his
segments always are among the most lively
and effective at getting calls in. "Begone the
endless droning!" he seems to say. "Let's
bring in some fun!"
"They were very enthusiastic," he says of
KERAs reaction to the proposal—so much so,
they asked if he would consider two dates,
"Everything I've ever done well in my life is
because someone told me they liked the idea
and gave me to freedom to do what I needed
to," Gilliland says. "A fresh idea has a very short
shelf-life. It's only a really good idea when it's
Toward that end, Gilliland may be the first
person since Jerry Lewis to turn a telethon (or ra-
diothon) into an entertainment event. On Tues-
day, Oct. 18 and again on Monday, Oct. 24, he's
programming virtually the entire day of
fundraising from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., bringing in
special guest co-hosts from across the commu-
nity to share in the duties.
He insisted that all his co-hosts meet three cri-
teria: They had to be glib, multifaceted and de-
voted listeners of KERA. "All of these people are
people I really know," he says.
Among the local celebs set to share the air
SWITCHBOARDS NOW OPEN | Gilliland comman-
deers the mic for two days of the KERA pledge drive, and
he's determined to entertain while begging for dollars.
(Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
during Gilliland's two day begathon: Former
city councilwoman and current Arts District
maven Veletta Lill (Oct. 18,3-4 p.m.), gay publi-
cist John Shore (Oct. 18.4-5 p.m.), transgender
restaurateur Monica Greene (Oct. 24,9-10 a.m.)
and Dallas Market Center V.P. and DEFFA volun-
teer Alden Clanahan (Oct. 24,11 a.m.-noon).
One of his guests will be Mary McDermott
Cook, whose father founded Texas Instruments.
Gilliland met her after he made a radical prom-
ise during the spring membership drive: Make a
pledge and I will take you out for cocktails and
"One person called in because he said, Tou
had some skin in the game.' I said, 'Here'! what
IH jjgjf People respond to that."
It's that kind of response Gilliland hopes his
experiment will yield.. ''I call it a sort of interven-
tion to minimize the apocalypse of the pledge
drive," he says. ■
To pledge—please—imdeiidthe drive early, call
888-694-6931 or visit KERA.org,
28 dallasvoice.com ■ 10.14.11
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 22, Ed. 1 Friday, October 14, 2011, newspaper, October 14, 2011; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239189/m1/28/: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.