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Anything for the 'Maverick'

KMSU begins its annual fundraiser; goal is $40,000.

Robb Murray, Mankato Free Press, 4-23-2015

When Shelley Pierce and Tim Lind sat down to do their very first 24-hour pledge drive marathon, they had, up to that point, never done a live broadcast.

So the hosts of the Shuffle Function morning show on Minnesota State University, Mankato’s KMSU radio station practiced. They hung Post-it notes around the audio consoles. Worked on their timing. Practiced putting records on in a timely fashion. In short, they made sure that, when things went live, they’d sound, you know, somewhat professional.

“We didn’t want to sound like we were amateurs,” Pierce said.

“We’re still working on that,” quipped Lind.

That was 13 years and 12, 24-hour Shuffle Function pledge drive marathons ago. Today at 6 p.m., they’ll start the 13th. And, all quips aside, the pair has become the rock stars of pledge drive season.

“We really love doing the pledge drive,” Lind said. “People tell us the enthusiasm comes through. ... I hope the love of the station comes through as well.”

Before launching into that first 24hour marathon, their show was broadcast weekly, and it was always pre-recorded. That first marathon pulled in a little more than $3,000, a sum that Lind says ushered in a new era for the pair. They’d go on to raise a lot more in subsequent pledge drives, but something else very cool happened that day.

They got a chance to speak to their listeners.

Because their previous shows were recorded, interaction with listeners had been mostly over email. But that first live show prompted many listeners to — as is the point of a pledge drive — call in and donate money. This gave Lind and Pierce their first conversations with listeners, many of which continue to this day.

These days, the pledge drive marathon pulls in tens of thousands of dollars. On a couple of occasions, the 24-hour marathon has pulled in enough money to complete the pledge drive for the entire station. But they’re quick to point out that they’re just two players on the KMSU team, and the team has a fairly lofty goal. The station’s management and the hosts of the other shows also do their best to get their listeners to help push the station to its goal every year.

This year the station’s pledge drive runs through May 1, and its goal is $40,000. It’s hoped that this final push will give the station the final funds it need to purchase a new transmitter. Its current transmitter is aging and difficult to get parts for, so it’s time.

The fact that the station is sort of a big family makes pledge drive week seem even more like a community effort. During one of those pledge drives where they hit the station goal during their 24-hour marathon, the pair recalls all the listeners and others hosts who crowded the KMSU offices in the Alumni Foundation building on Warren Street. As the 24-hour marathon period wound down — and they were $5 from hitting the station’s goal — an unemployed guy literally pulled out his last five bucks and donated it.

“The station just erupted,” Lind said.

Beyond the fundraising component of the 24-hour marathon, it’s just good radio. The marathon each year includes giveaways for listeners, in-studio guests and live performances. This year The Frye will perform Friday afternoon.

“(Station Manager Jim Gullickson) tells us that, when we’re doing the 24 hours, we’re listenable,” Pierce said.

The entire version of this story can be read in a print copy of the Mankato Free Press. Call the Mankato Free Press at 625-4451 or (800) 657-4662 to find out how to purchase a print copy. The Free Press also prints select stories online at

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