The next step in micropatronage:
A write-in campaign

Last November, I asked for help in my quest to raise money for an accessibility research project. I asked micropatrons to donate small sums of money to keep me afloat while I raised money for the Open & Closed Project. As a full-fledged alternative, people could write support statements on their blogs or display ad banners. Over 200 people contributed more than $5,800, and many dozens of others wrote about the project or ran banner ads.

All of you have my continued thanks. Now it’s time for the next step.

One way that money gets distributed in Canada

When a broadcaster buys another one, an amount equivalent to about 10% of the purchase price must be added and spent on social benefits or tangible benefits.

CTV Globe Media, a large private broadcaster, has been approved to buy CHUM Limited, another broadcaster. Because of some wrangling over definitions, the exact amount of social-benefits spending is up in the air, but could be about $135 million. The Open & Closed Project needs only $4 million to $7 million, and furthermore needs only half a million for its first year.

CTV already has suggested a category of benefits that will be directed toward “research.” There is no better option for socially motivated research in the broadcasting sector than the Project. We’ve applied for funding under social benefits under that category and others. We’ve sent in a reminder that we applied for the benefits.

CTV must file the final details of its social benefits around 2007.07.07. And I need you to write CTV and recommend that they support us.

A write-in campaign

All you have to do is send E-mail to Mary Powers, senior vice-president of corporate communications at CTV Globe Media:

Yes, it really is OK to publish Ms Powers’s name and E-mail. Both are publicly listed as media contacts, and I verified in advance that she is the person to receive inquiries from the public.

Please send your E-mails this week, the week of June 25.

We don’t need a deluge of E-mails, but several dozen – maybe 60 or so – would be a good showing.

What happens next?

We wait. If, for some irrational or punitive reason, CTV decides not to put the Project on its recipient list, we’re going to reapply on other grounds, and we may come back to you with another appeal for public support.

Additionally, CTV has to sell off one set of CHUM stations to a third private broadcaster, Rogers. That sale also has social-benefits spending attached, for which we have already applied. At the moment, we don’t need a write-in campaign for that set of funds, but that may change.

There’s another large TV merger coming up in Canada, and we’ll apply there, too.