Pledge-free Stream

February 24, 2014

WBEZ is testing the launch of our first pledge-free stream for the March 2014 Pledge Drive. The pledge-free stream is a way for qualifying members to access WBEZ without hearing any pitching.


To access the pledge-free stream, you must:

If you think you may be a qualifying member (Leadership Circle or High Fidelity giving at least $15/month), take our new Member Center for a test-drive.



What is the pledge-free stream?
It’s an online source for listening to WBEZ without hearing the pledge drive.

How can one listen to the pledge-free stream?
It is available anywhere you can access a browser, namely: your computer, your smart phone or your tablet.

How is the pledge-free stream possible?
We’re basically running a second broadcast in addition to our regular broadcast. This broadcast requires additional staff time, studios and programming.

Who can listen to it?
Members who currently give $15/month via High Fidelity or are Leadership Circle Members giving more than $1,000 annually. Or, anyone who gives a one-time $40 membership donation between February 25 and March 14.

Why do members who do not already qualify have to give a one-time donation of $40?
As Chicago’s main source for independent, non-commercial news and stories, WBEZ is a non-profit organization that relies on the support from the individuals who use our services to help pay for them. On-air pledge drives are where WBEZ finds the majority of its individual support. Because of this, as well as finding ways to help off-set the cost of the pledge-free stream without taking money away from other revenue needs, we are requesting that non-qualifying members or new members make a minimum gift of $40 to access the pledge-free stream.

Why is WBEZ offering this?
WBEZ’s greatest source of funding comes directly from the listeners we serve. We must use our airwaves to find these donors, because running an independent news organizations is very expensive.

However, once a listener donates, it would be nice to offer them the ability to go back to non-pledge drive programming. While that sounds simple, it’s actually very difficult to do, but we have finally done it and are now launching it for the first time. We’re thrilled to be able to offer this benefit to our current members.

What are the technical requirements I need to listen? 
You must have cookies enabled to be able to access the pledge-free stream. It is also recommended that you have a recent version of your internet browser (such as Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, etc.). 

How do I listen on my smartphone?
Log in to your account from your phone on any browser, and if you are eligible, you will see a blue button to launch the pledge free stream. Here's a neat video on how to create an app icon for the pledge free stream on your iPhone.

My stream is choppy / sometimes it drops the feed / it stops when my iPhone falls asleep.
This is likely because your device is low on resources and having some trouble buffering the audio. Restarting your device should do the trick. If you're using a smartphone, closing out other apps will also help. Also, please be sure your internet connection is strong (WiFi is the best).