Objects in Mirror

Behind the scenes: One pitch producer's story

Posted at 2:59 PM on February 14, 2013 by Julia Schrenkler

Jess Horwitz, known to many as the person behind @MPRMembership, shared this behind-the-scenes story of what it is like to work during a member drive:

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Happy last day of the Member Drive! Because you've been with us this whole time, sharing your MPR love, I wanted to shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes.

When you're listening, instead of the one voice you usually hear, you're hearing two voices in our studios. The host and the "pitcher." The host is running the show and the pitcher is there to share the load of Drive info. They volley back and forth, making sure we let you, the listener, know the importance of Membership.

Hosts are given bullet points for each break. They highlight what items we need to communicate, like when we have a Challenge or goal to meet or a certain gift to offer. Between that and doing their actual hosting duties, it's a lot to remember!

Also in the studio is a pitch producer. A designated listener/helper/cheerleader, keeping energy up and the facts straight. Those numbers you hear about each hour? They are real. The Challenge funds? Also real. Our Finance department won't let us touch them until the Members are officially counted!

And those Member comments? Just like all the requests you hear on Classical and The Current, just like the callers you hear on The Daily Circuit, they are actual Members and listeners.

Earlier this week, you met Elliott. MPR News pitch producer Ben Martin saw Elliott's comment come through our donation portal. Elliott is nine years old, and though his parents are Sustainers, he wanted to become a Member in his own right. He donated some of his birthday money and told us he likes Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! a lot.

Ben saw how cool Elliott was, and knew he couldn't keep this story all to himself. He printed Elliott's comment and handed it to Cathy Wurzer and John Moe, who were the host and pitcher that day on Morning Edition. Cathy read it on the air and Elliott's story traveled throughout the building.

When I learned about Elliott, I just had to tweet:

All day, everyone at HQ was so impressed with this smart kid. Cathy and John started the #belikeElliott movement. If a 9 year old is generously giving his birthday money, why aren't you a Member?

Today, Cathy Wurzer invited Elliott in to the studio during Morning Edition:


Member Drives are fun because of Members like Elliott. Members like you!

If you're inspired by Elliott's story, share your MPR love with us. We'd love to hear from you!

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