MISSOULA – The cats, dogs, chickens, horses, sheep, bunnies and other critters finished the Montana Public Radio’s annual spring fundraiser in a flurry of furry fun during “Pet Wars” on Sunday, April 13. Listener pledges totaled $554,116 at midnight, concluding the eight-day event that raised 85 percent of the $650,000 goal.
Dogs won “Pet Wars” with 1,745 votes, and cats came in second at 1,480. This year in addition to pledging for pets, listeners also posted pictures and comments about their pets on the MTPR Facebook events page and Twitter feed using the hashtags #petwars, #teamdog, #teamcat and several others.
“It was really fun to be able to see pictures of the pets – a nice compliment to the ‘Pet Wars’ event,” said Joan Richarde, MTPR program host and Pet Wars co-anchor.
The biggest hour of the weeklong event occurred between noon and 1 p.m. on the final Sunday, with $18,386 in pledges made before the deadline for a $5,000 matching challenge.
“As we were talking about the challenge on-air, we began calling it a big monster challenge, and then the listeners began calling it that, too,” said Fundraising Director Linda Talbott.
“That kind of informal atmosphere and levity are in keeping with the MTPR’s founding vision, to keep the fun in the fundraising,” MTPR Station Manager William Marcus said.
Supporters made a total of 4,810 pledges during the week, and about 2,800 unique thank-you gifts were offered by listeners and businesses. The gifts included weekend cabin getaways, home-cooked dinners, handmade hats, baked goods, pet treats, raft trips, books, CDs and live goats.
Program Director Michael Marsolek and all the senior staff at the station will read the listener comments and suggestions regarding program preferences.
MTPR is a public service of the University of Montana and broadcasts to western and central Montana from Missoula studios through transmitters in Missoula, Hamilton, Kalispell, Whitefish, Polson, Libby, Butte, Dillon, Helena and Great Falls.