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Live coverage of the Republican National Convention airs from 8-10 p.m. tonight on TPR News stations.

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?

So goes the refrain of a Joni Mitchell song that was popular in my youth. It does seem to be human nature to take things for granted until they are taken from us, or at least nearly so.
We've seen this play out a couple of times in recent weeks. On learning of NPR's $30 million budget shortfall and layoffs of 10% of its staff, lots of folks stepped up to donate, or say they would have donated earlier if they had only known. When the board of directors of the Texas Observer announced that the long-time bastion of Texas liberal journalism would be closed down due to financial troubles, a Go Fund Me campaign initiated by staff members raised almost $300,000 in 3 days to keep it going.

While we appreciate the generosity shown by supporters in both cases, we wish it hadn't required an existential threat to persuade folks to step up.

We come to you during our pledge drives not just to keep TPR afloat, but to keep it robust and vibrant. Our community expects and deserves a public radio organization that is doing more than scraping by. We need to be staffed and equipped not only to provide the daily news and cultural coverage you rely on, but also to respond to breaking news, to be NPR's go-to station for coverage of events of national interest happening in our area, and also to provide in-depth coverage and analysis of complex issues. We need to be in a position to pay the fees required to bring you the best possible national and international programming. We need a classical music station that not only provides beautiful music, but also provides local voices and vital community connections. We need to be able to produce events that bring people together in exploration and celebration of the world around them.

We can do all this only with your support.

Make no mistake, we run lean. You won't find layers of bureaucracy in our organization. We had to make some painful decisions of our own earlier this year when we realized that our expenses were outpacing our revenues. We are careful stewards of the resources you provide us. We invest our funds in those areas that will mean the most to our community. We want you to feel that you get great value for every dollar you contribute.

Think for a minute about what you would be willing to contribute if we told you that we were in danger of losing TPR. And then, don't wait for that to be threatened. You know what you've got. Make your contribution now to keep TPR strong.

Joyce is the President & CEO at Texas Public Radio.