Turning Cars into... Scholarships, too!

Here at Car Talk Vehicle Donation Services, we like to do things big. So when it came time to say thanks to our former vehicle donation guru, we went national.

See, our longtime MarTrying something different: WEKU's Roger Duvallketing Czarina, Deb Blakeley took our little Mini Cooper of a vehicle donation program and turned it into a mighty one-ton pickup truck. (A solar pickup truck, that is – since Deb's a pretty big fan of anything green and leafy!).

So when Deb moved on to other opportunities last year, we decided to celebrate her contributions in the most appropriate way we could find: by spreading a little of her genius throughout public radio!

The Deb Blakeley Scholarship is helping Marketing Czarinas and Czars from stations around the country go to this week’s Public Media Development & Marketing Conference.The winners converge on Atlanta this week. They’re looking forward to spending three days swapping information and inspiration with some of the brightest bulbs on the public media tree.

“It's good to get fresh ideas from talking to new people,” says Roger Duvall of WEKU in Richmond, Kentucky, who says it’s an especially useful year to attend because his station has reorganized and taken its development efforts in a new direction.Shayne Kraemer of KSER is keeping it cool

“The scholarship was absolutely essential,” he adds. “I couldn’t come if it weren't for that.”

Shayne Kraemer from KSER in Everett, Washington is looking for pointers on “developing new relationships with donors and how to capitalize on those relationships.” Having never been east of Arkansas, he’s also looking forward to seeing a little of Atlanta - hopefully without melting. “I'm from Seattle,” he laughs. “It's cold here."

Car Talk's scholarship is added to funds from donors across the U.S. The pooled donations help smaller stations send employees to the national meeting. To Asia Burnett, that embodies the spirit of our little corner of the media world.

“The great thing about public radio is that it's a family (right down to the wisecracking uncles that are always talking about cars!),” she writes from WKMS in Murray, Kentucky. “I can't begin to tell you how amazing it's been to have stations and friends from all across the country pull together to help send folks like me - whose stations' budgets aren't quite as large as their hearts - to attend a conference like PMDMC.”

This year's other winners includeSounds good, Asia Burnett! Ned Gavlick from South Dakota Public Broadcasting; Lisa Baxter of WQCS in Ft. Pierce, Florida; Stephanie Llacuna from Dayton, Ohio's WDPR; Barb Blevins from High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, Kansas;  and Jamie Miller of Springfield, Missouri's KSMU.

You can learn more about the PMDMC scholarships right here.

Have fun in Atlanta, guys!