You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Null zeroes in on PBS, fills void in coffers

NPR host/health expert raises $3.5 mil for 15 stations

NEW YORK — Fifteen PBS TV stations got an early delivery from Santa this year as radio host Gary Null broke PBS’ fundraising record by single-handedly soliciting $3.5 million during his on-air pleas for viewer contributions in early December.

Null, a nutrition and health expert with a syndicated show on National Public Radio, significantly boosted fundraising for the PBS stations on which he appeared.

The stations aired a special called “How to Live Forever, With Gary Null” between Nov. 29 and Dec. 14. Null asked for contributions during breaks and also took calls from viewers who had health questions. He also gave away copies of his new book.

His appearances on WNET and WLIW in the New York market solicited $1,038,000 for the two stations.

Cups overfloweth

In several cases, Null’s brief appearances drew more money than the stations had budgeted for their entire pledge periods. In Tallahassee, Fla., Null raised $105,000. The station’s goal was $75,000 for the multiday fundraising effort.

Although Null has been on radio for 22 years, he said that PBS stations have always turned down his offer to help them raise money because they didn’t believe that an NPR personality would have much appeal on television. “I have knocked on the door of PBS, but they would never let me in,” said Null. “They always felt that PBS and NPR had different audiences, but they’re the same.”

After Miami, the deluge

PBS station WPBT in Miami took a chance on him Nov. 29 and raised more than $300,000. That figure was within $35,000 of the station’s total fundraising goal.

When word of that great success got around, PBS stations from all around flooded him with requests to appear on their stations.

While it would seem logical that public TV will line up to secure Null for the next pledge period, Null is not counting on it.

“I never assume anything,” he said.

More Biz

  • Spotify Says It Was Unaware of

    Spotify Says It Was Unaware of Personal User Data Shared by Facebook

    Spotify was one of many technology companies to which Facebook granted vast access to users’ personal data — far more than it had previously disclosed, according to a New York Times report published Tuesday night. Facebook “effectively exempted those business partners from its usual privacy rules,” the report says, citing internal records and interviews. According [...]

  • The Best Gifts For Book Worms:

    Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts For Bookworms

    If you’ve got a bookworm or writer on your gifting list, you’ll want to find them something as creative and inspiring as they are. Pro tip: don’t get them a book. With any voracious reader and writer, it’s hard to guess what they’ve already read, and you don’t want to be a victim of re-gifting. To [...]

  • David Rhodes CBS News

    CBS News Faces New Challenges in Weeks Ahead

    At CBS News, President David Rhodes has a series of important decisions to make that could affect the trajectories of some of TV’s best-known news programs. As its parent company seeks to move forward from recent seismic events – the ouster of its former CEO, Leslie Moonves; a corporate probe into its workplace culture; and [...]

  • Listen: Sarah Bernhardt and the Birth

    Listen: How Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse Helped Create Modern Celebrity Culture

    They were pioneers in the business of superstardom more than a century ago. Behind the scenes, legendary actors Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse were also entrepreneurs who ran their own companies and controlled every aspect of their careers. The new biography “Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse and the Rivalry That Changed Acting [...]

  • Charter Communications logo

    Charter Reaches $174 Million Settlement on Internet-Throttling Fraud Suit

    Charter Communications agreed to a settlement valued at $174.2 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging the U.S.’s second-biggest cable operator defrauded broadband customers by failing to deliver promised internet speeds. According to the terms of the settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office, Charter will pay $62.5 million in direct refunds to 700,000 active broadband [...]

  • Making a Murderer

    'Making A Murderer' Detective Sues Netflix for Defamation

    A retired sheriff’s detective sued Netflix for defamation on Monday, alleging that the hit series “Making a Murderer” falsely suggested that he planted evidence to frame a murder suspect. Andrew Colborn filed suit in Manitowoc County Circuit Court in Wisconsin, alleging that he had been subject to “worldwide ridicule, contempt and disdain” since the docuseries [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content