A Way with Words is celebrating its fifth anniversary as an independent program!
Thanks to your donations, the show is now heard across North America and around the world by more than a quarter-million listeners each week.
When we took over the show in 2007, we knew how to make radio. We knew what people wanted know about language. And we knew how to get the show out to stations.
But we didn’t know how to pay for it. Fundraising? Donors? Sponsors? Magic?
It turned out that among our many thousands of listeners, there were many who cared about language and good radio. Ongoing annual support from listeners like them, and you, accounts for more than half of our operating budget. It is a crucial piece of our funding pie.
Last year, also thanks to people like you, we made more new episodes than ever. You asked us to make more brand-new one-hour shows, so that’s what we did.
But did you know that A Way with Words is more than a weekly hour of radio? If only it were that easy!
In fact, behind each hour of radio there are at least 120 hours of other work.
For every caller we talk to on the air, we respond to hundreds off-air, when we can, with answers, help, advice, and support. In fact, we get more than 15,000 listener phone calls and emails a year, and dearly wish we could respond to them all.
We also give public workshops, lectures, and presentations to all sorts of groups: business people, high school and college students, church groups, teachers, writers, and more.
We also spend even more hours each week on back-office business with vendors and stations, carefully managing where money goes: studio rental, file- and site-hosting, a radio engineer, a radio editor, and satellite distribution, an expense that increased by 50% this year.
All together, this work is how we fulfill our mission of helping people think about language in a new way.
Your donations are the fuel in our rockets. Make a tax-deductible donation to A Way with Words that will make a difference for hundreds of thousands of people every week.
A lot has changed since 2007. Then, smartphone web-browsing accounted for less than 1% of our website traffic. Now, smartphones and tablets account for almost 25%.
Then, social media didn’t have the force and numbers that it does today. Now, a business (or a radio show) can’t thrive unless it participates in Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites.
Then, podcasting was still growing and hadn’t proved itself. Now, the landscape of online-only radio and podcasting is vast, and we’re a part of it. We have to be visible and active in it.
So, after consulting with you, we’re overhauling the website to emphasize and add what you told us was important:
- Better searching of past answers, shows, and discussions.
- Easy access to parts of episodes for downloading or listening.
- Improved appearance on smartphones and iPads.
- Integration of social media.
- Simpler saving, sharing, and commenting.
It will be a full overhaul, from top to bottom. Every page will be changed, thousands of new pages will be added, and it will include a ton of new lexical and language content. We’re super-excited about it!
Click for a sneak preview of the front page of the new site, which will launch by July:
Thank you for everything you do for us. Your calls and emails matter a great deal. They energize, delight, and inform us. Without you and your support, we wouldn’t have a show.
Here’s to you and another great five years!
Best wishes and happy listening,
Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett
co-hosts of A Way with Words
You may also send tax-deductible donations by postal mail to:
P.O. Box 632721
San Diego, CA 92163
Photo by Dorothy Harris. Used under a Creative Commons license.