December 30, 2009

Marriage Proposal Generates Gift to Public Radio Station

Charity isn’t usually on the minds of people when they propose marriage. But good causes often benefit when people look for unusual ways to pop the question.

For example, Shawn Millard donated money to WAMU 88.5 FM, a Washington public radio station, so he could broadcast his proposal to Heather Curlee live last week on Christmas Eve.

In exchange for a $500 gift, donors to the Washington station are allowed to write up to three 15-second announcements to be broadcast on a single day. Donors get to choose the day and the times when they want their messages aired.

At about 7:20 a.m. on December 24, a WAMU broadcaster read Mr. Millard’s proposal: “Today’s programs are made possible in part by Shawn Millard, who asks that his most wonderful girlfriend become his most wonderful wife.”

Apparently, he got a prompt response. Just a few hours later, at 11 a.m., another announcement was made: “Today’s programs are made possible in part by Shawn Millard, in celebration of his recent engagement to Helen Curlee.”

The station has allowed donors to make announcements for many years, but marriage proposals not that common, officials say. However, Stephanie Kaye, a WAMU reporter who hosts a weekly arts program, made a $500 gift so she could propose on the air to the man who is now her husband.

More popular are birthday, anniversary, memorial, or graduation announcements, especially in the month of the May. The station also has one loyal repeat donor who reserves every other Wednesday for his announcements, mostly family news.

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