Classical KUSC launched its membership drive Thursday with a kickoff event featuring classical music experts Rich Capparela and Jim Svejda joining forces in a comedic broadcast.
Capparela and Svejda, who are considered two of the nation’s most knowledgeable commentators on classical music, host separate popular shows on Classical KUSC.
For this year’s fall membership drive, the two shared a radio booth on Thursday, and will share one again on Oct. 18. The drive is an attempt to encourage more listeners to donate money to become members of the station.
Station General Manager Eric DeWeese said that these hours have received a lot of positive feedback.
“They put a lot more of their own humor into these hours,” he told USC News. “We know there are people who tune in specifically to hear them.”
Capparela credited Svejda for this popularity, calling him flawlessly easy to get along with on air.
“It’s a little like that storied married couple who finish each other’s sentences,” Capperela told USC News. “We do get great feedback, especially when one of us inevitably cracks up the other and that person falls into helpless giggling.”
The station’s members are vital, as about 70 percent of KUSC’s operating budget comes from individual donors.
DeWeese also said that the challenge of membership drives is to keep the messages positive so that listeners don’t mind more time being spent on talking, rather than music.
“We don’t want to make people feel guilty or listen to begging,” he said. “Listeners tell us they like learning more about our announcers and hearing their humorous sides.”
Minnie Prince, KUSC’s director of development, organized the membership drive with DeWeese, who is also in charge of the thank-you gifts. DeWeese said that some of the gifts were popular enough to be offered drive after drive.
One particular gift, a copy of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” recorded by Mitch Miller, has been offered annually for two decades.
Kian Pasha, a senior majoring in performance trumpet, was unsure of how successful the drive will be.
“I listen to KUSC all the time because it’s a great resource for classical music,” he said, “but I don’t know how good of an idea this membership drive is.”
There will also be a one-hour special on classical music in film scores to be hosted by Capparela on Friday. Another one-hour special on classical guitar will air at on Oct. 15.
Svejda will also join Duff Murphy on The Opera Show with Duff Murphy for another round of banter. This duo will be broadcasting on Saturday, talking between excerpts from various operas.